Delicate Balance: PR Sees Vetting, Contracts and Creative Freedom as Best Approach with Influencers

Each year, PRNEWS names an Agency Elite Top 100, composed of the most innovative PR and communication firms in the country.

We arranged a virtual roundtable with executives leading three of these agencies. The conversation began with a question about industry changes, which led to a discussion about influencer marketing and the role PR plays in this TikTok-centric world.

Participants were: Tom Coyne, CEO of Parsippany, NJ-based Coyne PR; Lindsey DeWitte, president of Public Relations at Kansas City-based Barkley PR; and Laura Macdonald, co-president of San Francisco-based Hotwire.

The discussion was edited for length and clarity.

PRNEWS: What have you seen changing in the industry during the last three years?

Tom Coyne, CEO, Coyne PR

Tom Coyne: The evolution of influence has changed a lot…We've seen the rise of influencers and their impact.

But recently it’s about understanding and vetting [influencers] correctly. It's a very detailed process...[using] a cross-section of different platforms to evaluate them. Then you...dive deep and get into the background of the influencer to make sure that there are no surprises....

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