Reasons to be Thankful for Public Relations

In honor of the recent Thanksgiving holiday, here’s a list of some of the things I’m thankful for in the world of public relations.

I’m thankful for…

…public relations being a more cost-effective marketing method than advertising, especially during an economic downturn. Retailers, for example, are increasingly shifting dollars out of advertising and into public relations.

…the continued evolution of public relations in the midst of radical changes in how people consume information. Public relations firms have shown an amazing ability to adapt to and utilize new communication channels to help control the message.

…those same changes in how people consume information, because they’ve helped prove the value of public relations. As the mainstream is marginalized, the message-control opportunities increase in good and bad ways, making it easier for public relations people to do their job and making public relations   essential to an organization’s success.

…a presidential election in which public relations people, for the most part, stayed out of the spotlight and conducted themselves admirably. In addition, the new administration seems to understand the value and purpose of public relations more than the outgoing administration does.

…unimaginably stupid auto-maker executives who used private jets to travel to Capitol Hill while asking the government for a bailout. Their actions should serve as a boon for crisis management public relations firms.

…a survey conducted by BIGfrontier Communications Group in Chicago. The survey found that startups which utilize public relations campaigns are 30 percent more successful in finding financing than startups that do not. The same study also found that 78 percent of the companies in the first group planned to spend some of their funding on public relations and that only 18 percent of startups had a public relations program in place during the fundraising stage. That latter figure presents a huge opportunity.

…another survey conducted by Bulldog Reporter and TEKgroup International, Inc., which showed that approximately 50 percent of journalists visit an online newsroom or corporate website at least once a month. The importance of up-to-date and information-packed online public relations areas cannot be overstated.

…opportunities in the public relations field being available for the multitude of journalists who have been laid off. Former journalists are well-equipped to do public relations and often bring new ideas and keen insight to the table.

…institutional investors such as hedge funds taking money out of the stock market and sitting on cash until things calm down. When these investors are ready to buy stocks again, public companies should increase their public relations spending in an effort to attract investors. Likewise, hedge funds that performed poorly in 2008 will be looking for ways to attract investors of their own, and by law, hedge funds are not allowed to advertise or distribute unsolicited marketing material.

…PR Newswire, which acquired Xinhua Finance, making it easier to distribute press releases to a Chinese audience. (The sponsor of this newsletter, eReleases, utilizes PR Newswire .)

…public relations people doing pro bono work for charities and non-profits as Americans find themselves with less spending power. Please remember that there are a lot of organizations who could use your expertise.

…my friends in the public relations industry. They are some of the wisest people I know.

This article, written by Ben Silverman, originally appeared in PR Fuel (, a free weekly newsletter from eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit: