How Do I Know What Type of Communications Services I need?
Finding the right communications, marketing, or public relations support is never easy. The communications and media spectrum is remarkably wide-ranging front things like news, media relations, even advertising, and marketing research—that’s not even including digital media or public affairs!
So how do businesses, organizations, and individuals sort through the various types of communications services to find what type is right for them? Not to worry, the team at HiveMind Strategies is here to give their tips on Communications Services 101—breaking down the most common services communications and marketing agencies provide so you know what to ask for when you find the agency just right for you.
- Yes, the Agency Industry Really Is Big
You’re not coo coo for cocoa puffs if you’ve done an Internet search for a public relations agency and have been overwhelmed with your search results. That’s because the business of agencies is a global juggernaut. In 2016, the global PR industry hit about $14 billion, according to the Holmes Report. That figure alone supports hundreds of multi-national agencies and firms, thousands of midsized firms, and tens of thousands of smaller or boutique agencies—yikes!
- Communications Is a Catchall Phrase
Communications, Marketing, Media Relations, Public Relations, Public Affairs, Digital Media, Advertising, Web Development are all just a sampling of various names and services offered under the communications spectrum, says Adjoa Adofo, a Media Relations Consultant with HiveMind.
“We’ve received inquiries from businesses saying they need media relations support—but after engaging them a bit more we may discover that they really need digital branding and marketing as well,” she said. “Often times clients may not know the difference between services or fully understand what services are.”
Adofo gave a simply break down for services:
Media Relations/Public Relations—often involves engaging the media, general public, or both. Media Relations specifically will involve an agency using terms like “earned media” versus “paid media” which means placing and pitching articles, content, or key figures within an organization to media outlets with the a goal of raising the profile of an organization, topic, cause, or individual in the public’s eye. This can include media outlets like local/regional newspapers, radio stations, and television outlets. Think of anything from USA Today, National Public Radio (NPR), or CNN as the type of outlets.
Marketing—this is also a pretty diverse term but in short, marketing is how services, products, etc, are promoted or SOLD to the public. Marketing can include advertising (paid media), branding, and market research. All of the above has one goal: meeting a customer’s needs and satisfaction.
Digital Media—this is another whopper catchall phrase that encompasses everything that you see on the Internet, on your smartphone, and tablet. Digital Media is also the fastest growing service within communications and can include Social Media, Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, SEO, Paid Search, Advertising, and web development. Unlike media relations, at some point every business or organization will use digital media in some capacity either for a website, social media presence, or business listing on Google, Yelp!, or Bing.
“Digital media services are pretty massive. It’s really all about reaching audiences online and making them move toward a desired action,” said Adofo. “While it can be less expensive than traditional media relations and marketing, it can also require lots of manpower and strategy.”
- Honorable Mention
While not stand-alone categories on their own, the following are also worth a brief mention and explaining.
Crisis Communication—ever watch a political drama like “Scandal” or “House of Cards”? Or maybe turn on the TV to watch the latest blunder of the Trump Administration? No matter, crisis communication is an elite and focused sub-category of communications focused on protecting an individual, organization, or company that is facing a public challenge to its reputation.
Content Marketing—perhaps not as well-known as a term outside the marketing community, but content (articles, blogs, videos, social media posts) has become the lifeblood of the Internet. Getting content in front of eyeballs on the Internet can take concerted time and effort. More so content is increasingly becoming more sophisticated and tailored to the needs and interest of the end-user. Content is also used to help sell products and services; consider the amount of time you spend researching a product before you purchase it. Might you look at online reviews? Blog posts and videos on the topic? That, friends, is content marketing.
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