When I was learning the ropes, PR packed punch.
It could land big B2B companies among the lead stories on the evening news and the front pages of papers. And―like a great equalizer―could do the same for small B2B companies, too.
Big B2B companies had dedicated PR departments; B2B PR agencies flourished; and solo B2B PR practitioners were legion.
Marketers I know and respect agree: PR's dead. David Meerman Scott (his famous 2007 book, anyway) killed it.
Scott encouraged marketers to substitute PR for advertising; become publicists, instead of peddlers; and to accelerate marcom by cutting out the middleman (the traditional media).
We took his advice―and, in the process, killed the goose that laid the golden eggs. When everyone's a publicist, no one is.
It didn't help that, at the same hour, two new threats—shared and owned media—came on the scene, stealing even more thunder from earned (and paid) media.
So, what's next?
Influencer Relations, says B2B marketing consultant Tom Pick.
Influencer Relations' job is to generate earned backlinks to a B2B company's website, improving SEO. The practitioner's duty is to persuade influencers to embed a link in any mention of the company.
"The work of today’s 'PR' pros is really about building relationships with key influencers," Pick says.
"The people we call 'PR' pros actually spend most of their time communicating with some mix of local, business, financial, and industry media; bloggers; industry and financial analysts; channel and technology partners; industry associations or trade groups; internal staff; universities; and community groups. In short, with influencers."