Businesses have likely been seeking media coverage since the first newspaper, the Acta Diurna, was published in 59 B.C.. In the brief history of the United States, public influence and communication management has played a pivotal role in the settling of the colonies, our independence from Great Britain, the movement to abolish slavery, women’s suffrage, and the distribution of World Wars I and II propaganda. However, it wasn’t until the second half of the 20th century that public relations became a profession supported by trade associations, PR-focused news magazines, international PR agencies, and academic principles. Through the years, PR has evolved from a marketing tactic into its own profession with specialties including investor relations, technology PR, social media, and crisis management.
Businesses today expect more than just media coverage from PR agencies. They are seeking reputation management, third party validation from social media influencers, brand mentions, awards, and improved communications with their constituents. And they’re willing to pay for it. The global PR industry grew by 7% in 2014 and, for the first time, the top 250 PR firms in the world cracked the $10m barrier in terms of fee income last year, reporting $10.4bn compared to $9.7bn in 2013.
As with many other consulting and business services, public relations provides a means to an end. An investment in PR is the best solution for companies looking for third-party validation, improved search rankings, brand mentions, and enhanced general awareness and reputation.
But not every business can afford to keep a PR firm on retainer, nor should they. PR is not reserved for the businesses with the biggest budgets. It’s available to everyone, regardless of revenue or industry. The hard part is finding the PR agency that best fits your organization’s goals and budget.
What are your goals? Let’s discuss how public relations can impact your business.