Most will agree it's going to be tough for the next 12 months or so for public relations and most anything connected to marketing budgets. But there are unique distinctions that can help PR stand out from other tactics.
Conventional wisdom is that all companies cut their communications and marketing budgets during a downturn. This will undoubtedly lead to a tough time for PR practitioners. While this is true to an extent for those who are part of and deal with major corporations, there are a lot of businesses that continue to grow in a downturn. Especially those who can operate efficiently and thrive without the necessary big budgets.
This downturn gives public relations practitioners a great opportunity to let people know that PR can be an affordable way to market one's goods or services. A solid PR plan can offer efficiencies in comparison to other types of marketing. A simple reason ad firms might struggle in a downturn is because their model relies on commissions from a total advertising spend. When ad budgets go down, their revenues fall. In contrast, a good PR plan often doesn't rely on the purchase of any expensive supplemental service or product, which means that PR firms have the flexibility to work with a wider range of budgets.
Not to mention, the use of social media as part of a campaign. This is the new buzz dealing with blogs, facebook, myspace, linkedin, Twitter, and many more. Public Relations practitioners are a perfect match to excel in this new opportunity of promotions. And the best thing is, social media campaigns do not require alot of monetary investment. Another reason that PR has the chance to shine during hard economic times.
You might say, 'alot of people are using social media, not just PR people.' That is definitely true. There are some top of the line social media experts that don't even practice public relations (Mike Volpe with HubSpot, Chris Brogan with CrossTech Media, Skip Lineburg with Maple Creative, Justin Seibert with Direct Online Marketing, etc.). But PR's true foundaton of communication and sharing of knowledge with the public is what makes it a perfect fit for industry professionals. PR people are already delivering messages and spreading the word, social media just gives them more outlets to use and a broader audience to impact.