The PR industry is in a state of disarray; the media outlets they have provided access to are declining in relevance, and editorial importance, as the digital revolution takes hold. The industry has been hit on the double, not only are traditional publications struggling but also marketing has become more accessible to small budget advertisers. Bill Gates famously championed the PR industry when he said “If I was down to my last dollar I would spend it on PR”, but companies these days have awoken to the fact that social media marketing is often providing a better bang for that buck.
There are many debates dividing the PR industry – many bemoan the use of AVE (Advertising Value Equivalent), and their associated ‘PR Equivalent Multipliers’ as a means of tagging monetary value onto PR mentions. While others are now struggling to make the industry seem more relevant by coining new terms – one such term is ‘Inbound PR’. Some Public Relations experts have seen ‘Inbound Marketing’ and decided their industry should have a piece of that action, and so, have copied that exact formula for their own gain. Here a PR expert highlights two traditional ‘Outbound PR’ techniques and two ‘Inbound PR’ techniques, however the idea of Inbound PR being mooted is nothing new or revolutionary – it is simply Inbound Marketing, period. PR is a B2B function; marketing is a B2C function, both functions are massively important and should not be confused or infused. This copycat approach is a lazy way to modernize the industry moreover it just causes confusion and promotes skepticism on the merits of Public Relations.
Rather than try and usurp inbound communications from the marketing sphere some pioneers have brought PR, or more specifically Product PR, to the digital age. Many traditional agencies, such as Gan-Baroo in the Netherlands, and image libraries such as PRShots (UK) and PicStash (Ireland), have embraced both their industry, and the digital revolution, to gain maximum exposure for the brands they represent. Image Libraries, whether through individual agencies (such as Gan-Baroo) or larger platforms (such as PRShots & PicStash), allow easy access for columnists to showcase featured products.
Based on the stereotype that ‘journalists are inherently lazy’, image libraries take all the work out of it for these journalists by compiling thousands of high resolution images from hundreds of brands (complete with all necessary product information). These sites are fast becoming the number one source for feature journalists to gather the images for their columns; allowing features to be compiled in minutes rather than hours. And what is good for journalists, is great for brands, who can pick up tonnes of coverage as long as they have high impact product imagery. These must-visit resources for columnists are a true inbound revolution – inkeeping with the goals of the PR industry and true to the ideology of ‘inbound communications’.