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12 Fun & Fascinating PR Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

As an entrepreneur/marketer, you know how much public relations can help grow your business. You have probably partnered with an agency, researched its value adds and contemplated its ROI. And you’ve leveraged content marketing, press releases, and media relations. But did you know PR also has a rich, colorful history full of insightful stories that we can all learn from, even today? Without further ado, here are 12 fun and fascinating PR facts: 

Once Upon a Time…

1. It Started with Cave Art: PR goes back to the earliest days of civilization. From communicating through cave drawings to Egyptian pharaohs’ “sacred carvings” and Greek noblemen learning rhetoric from sophists, communications management is an age-old practice. (Source: The Museum of Public Relations)

2. First PR Book: Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanack is one of the earliest known examples of content marketing. This annual publication sold thousands of copies each year, generating incredible demand for the printing and paper business that Franklin owned. (Source: Content Marketing Institute)

3. First PR Agency: Modern PR dates to 1900, when the first public relations agency, “The Publicity Bureau,” was founded by former Boston journalists. The agency operated for “some 12 years before it disappeared into the sands of oblivion.” However, PR continued to grow throughout the early 1900s thanks to popular pioneers such as Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays (we’ll get back to them later). (Source: Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly)

4. Building Trust During the Great Depression: The Great Depression touched every aspect of American life – including the communications business. Due to the economic downturn, companies primarily sought to build trust rather than sell products. The result? Most turned to PR over marketing, with PR even getting top billing on organizational charts! Advertising spending, meanwhile, plunged by more than 60 percent between 1929-1933 and would not fully recover until after World War II. (Source: MuckRack; Encyclopedia.com)

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