The Integration Imperative:

There was a time when a PR professional could say: “I just do public relations” for this client or company. And maybe, back in the proverbial day, that was true. You could operate in a silo, faxing news releases to your carefully cultivated contacts at the newspaper, TV stations and magazines on your list, securing placements, calculating the ad equivalency, patting yourself on the back and sending a bill.

That’s no longer the case.

I was reminded by this fact at the [Cincinnati PRSA]( Media Day last week, where keynote speaker and industry colleague Aaron Perlut showed examples of amazing, disruptive campaigns that were successful not only in their creativity, but how they connected the dots of public relations, content marketing and traditional advertising.

Since public relations (or, public relations executed via social media) is all about building relationships, the PR function can effectively link the brand’s marketing and advertising executions to influencers and customers.

The modern model of marketing communication puts content in the center, surrounded by owned, earned and paid media. [PR has long been defined]( as building mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and key stakeholders.

This means that there’s never been a better, yet more challenging, time to be in public relations. The opportunities are endless for practitioners willing to look beyond their “lane” while understanding how the work they do can be the spark for entire campaign.

An example of this in our own practice includes the [Safety Week]( campaign we recently completed. The initial client request was to execute a public relations campaign (primarily media relations) to build awareness of Safety Week events and remind everyone in the industry of the importance of safety. We quickly realized it was essential to go beyond that request and develop a rally cry as well as visual assets to help make this a more compelling story.

We took this [campaign]( beyond specific “wear your hardhat” messages to offer a more emotive theme to build our tactics on. Did we still secure placements in the key media outlets? Yes. But we also made it easier to activate the hundreds of thousands of workers on job sites across the country, using a more integrated approach to amplify the story of safety.

So, what do you think? Anyone still doing PR “the old way?” Share your comments below.