I was chatting to bigmouthmedia’s Andrew Girdwood in the lunch break of a Fresh Business Thinking event last Friday and he repeated the concerns I touched upon in a whitepaper published a year ago about the tentative future of PR agencies.
Andrew still believes PR agencies are reacting too slowly to digital media and many will ultimately become obsolete. He also believes PR agencies need to work harder to communicate with and collaborate with search marketing agencies, and it’s in their own interests to do so.
To illustrate the point, Andrew gave the example that effective PR campaigns can trigger a massive increase in searches on the client brand name. And if the client invests heavily in paid search there can be a resultant spike in paid search clicks, but with most traffic being driven by curiosity the conversion rate drops. Suddenly, the client’s investment in paid search looks very poor, and points the finger unfairly at the search agency.
This is just one example of why PR professionals should communicate with and collaborate with search marketing. The situation above would be completely avoided with a bit of advance notice from PR agency to the search agency.
But the real reason search and PR should buddy-up is that when they do results can be amplified. The message can be spread further and wider and online traffic directed to the right place.
You could say that it’s the job of the client to ensure good intra agency communication. But I don’t believe that. I think it’s in the interests of all agencies with mutual clients to forge links and share information – it works for everyone. And only by engaging in digital media, and working with search agencies is just one part of that, will PR secure its future as a critical marketing discipline.