Is it me or is PR not actually evolving, but disappearing? It's safe to say that we can now start calling PR people "marketers."
Why? We're all about marketing strategy now. We're not just relating to publics but trying to learn how people tick and why they purchase or pass along something.
PR has traditionally been built upon persuasion, but persuasion isn't accurate. Real-life interaction is, so us "marketers" now talk to consumers in an effort to better understand content consumption. Our job is to drive and create content, not craft company-favored news releases with a lot of fluff. We can't do that anymore because it's not authentic, and because it's not authentic, it's not interesting. That's the harsh reality.
More evidence for PR pros falling off the map: take a look at events and seminars PR pros favor. You won't see us in high attendance at PRSA (I wish it weren't so); instead you will see the most interesting group if you attend an event like MIMA, where PR meets interactive meets ultra geeky in Minneapolis. We're starting to learn this geek stuff in our new roles as marketers.
No longer are our days spent pitching media over the phone or email. Instead, we read and aggregate posts that give us glimpses into the lay of the land, and build media lists that feature news outlets with blogs.
But wait, what about the traffic figures? Is this media outlet not worth it because of unique visitors, or should we flock to something that contains an exponential-reaching audience? What are people's behaviors on this specific page of our client's website? Do they stay, or is the bounce rate high? How can we keep consumers intrigued by what our clients do? I know! Let's send a multimedia news release! That will drive them to our site, plus it ranks pretty high in Google. That's how we, as marketers, are talking now.
And oh those titles: brand public relations director, digital PR specialist, conversation igniter, and emerging media expert. Really, we're just hiding behind the realization that we've become marketers—content marketers.
Why are we so ashamed of being a marketer? It's a good title. And you can avoid the possibility of misspelling "public" on a resume. It's a win-win situation, PR executive. Wear your new title proudly.
Tim Otis is supervisor of social media and PR for Gabriel deGrood Bendt. A version of this post first appeared on PRBreakfastClub.com.