As I mentioned in an earlier post, Public Relations, a Look Ahead in New Media, Veronis Suhler expects advertising spending to drop 7.6% for 2009, and again in 2010, while public relations spending is expected to see a 9% increase. So with advertising money coming over to public relations, maybe it’s time PR professionals took a closer look at advertising. In a recent article, Dave Fleet lists scale, creativity, measurement, audience targeting, and message crafting as the five things PR professionals can learn from advertising.
I particularly agree with Fleet’s note about creativity and I think a lot of these points can be boiled down to creativity… at least in order to be successful at them. Take his first point, scale, for instance. The bigger the scale, the broader the outreach for your campaign, and, therefore, the bigger the results. And, let’s face it, results is what it’s all about. Mastering the smaller markets is great, but bringing your client to a bigger audience will generate bigger results, however, that takes creativity. Creativity is where it’s at, especially now with all the overlapping of industries and media. Social media in particular allows for a whole new way of thinking with many tactics conducive to creativity.
Creative social media tactics are also useful to glean insight on Fleet’s fourth point; audience targeting. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Let Them Come to You, Ken Lachlan, a communication studies professor at UMass Boston, commented to me that with participatory media, people can tailor who they want to hear from and what kind of information they want to receive much more easily than ever before. They no longer have to dig through countless sources to find what they want; now, people can select what they want and get it to come straight to them. This selection process is helpful since you’re now able to see whose following or subscribing to you and your content (or your clients’ content). This provides immediate insight into who is interested in what you have to say and your audience research is practically done for you!
For example, if you create a Twitter account for your wireless client, but notice that many of the client’s Twitter followers are in the education sector, now you know a good industry to pitch that’s already interested in what you’re doing. Once you know someone’s interested, it’s a lot easier to influence them.
So if these are the kinds of things public relations can learn from advertising, with a little creativity, soon advertising will be learning from us!