Will PR Firms Control the Agency Ecosystem?

By | September 28, 2011
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As discussed in Transform into a Hybrid, disruptors will be the dominant players in the new marketing agency ecosystem. These firms are the most advanced in terms of technology integration, diversified services and talent versatility. For this reason, they are able to evolve and respond quicker and more efficiently to changing market factors than their traditional counterparts.

In his book, The Marketing Agency Blueprint, Paul Roetzer posits that PR firms may be in the best position to assume hybrid status and capitalize on emerging opportunities. The following is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of the book, which you can download for free here.

Book Excerpt: Are PR Firms the Perfect Hybrids?

As budgets continue to shift to content marketing, search marketing, and social media,

PR firms have an opportunity to assume unparalleled levels of leadership and influence in the marketing mix, if they can expand their services and consistently deliver measurable value to their clients. Consider the following:

  • Social-media participation is nothing more than relationships and communications through online channels. That is what PR pros do—build relationships and enhance communications with audiences—employees, media, customers, prospects, vendors and partners.
  • Although advanced SEO is both an art and science and reserved for brilliant minds like Rand Fishkin (@randfish) and Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan), most core SEO concepts and methodologies can be easily learned and executed as part of a larger content strategy. Plus, platforms such as HubSpot and SEOmoz create a low barrier to entry for PR firms interested in integrating basic SEO services such as keyword analyses, link building and on-page optimization.
  • It seems to be universally accepted these days that “content is king” in the new marketing world. Content marketing requires strong technical and creative writing skills, business acumen, marketing savvy and strategic thinking. Again, a perfect fit for the capabilities of top PR professionals who tend to have strong copywriting skills.
  • Content-management systems (CMS) have made web development and management far less complex. Websites have become communications and content-distribution vehicles. As a result, professionals who understand brand positioning and buyer personas, as well as the content and social media strategies, should guide website design and content. PR firms and web developers are a natural fit for future mergers, acquisitions and partnerships.

Unfortunately, PR firms remain their own worst enemy. As a whole, they have been slow to seize the opportunities to evolve. In a 2009 study, we found that only 38 percent of PRWeek’s top PR firms published a blog. Although the numbers improved in 2010 to 63 percent, it appears the industry at large is struggling to integrate social media, SEO and other interactive strategies. For now, they are not the perfect hybrids, but the possibility is there for forward-thinking PR firms to emerge.

Download your free copy of Chapter 2—Transform Into a Hybrid (no registration required).

Your Thoughts?

Do you think PR firms are best positioned to transform into hybrids? Why or why not? Share your thoughts below.