Adapting to the Changing PR World
[By Jason Mollica]
Although we aren’t always ready, the reality is that the world of public relations continues to change very rapidly. While the PR pro of ten years ago could still survive today, to be successful requires a bit of evolution. We are no longer just directors of PR; we must understand marketing, advertising and social communications.
So, what exactly are the responsibilities for PR pros today? Much like a golfer reads a green to see how the ball will roll when putted, we must be able to read the changes that are coming. If we can’t, our effectiveness is gone.
Here are a few ways we, as pros in today’s world, can adapt:
Data, Data, Data. I’m not talking about the guy from Star Trek. For a few years now, you’ve heard Marketwired (and many others) say how important data is in the PR world. The most effective PR campaigns take data into account while aligning efforts with business objectives. We are tasked with guiding our clients and partners in compiling the right data and using that data to craft effective messages. You can call it “big data” or just data; the prospects of the information it can bring you are beyond measure.
The Evolution of Pitching. Previously, when you sent reporters an email or called them, they most likely responded. Today, reporters and bloggers are inundated with pitches, not just from email and phones, but also on social networks. You can no longer “shotgun” your pitches. They need to be even more strategic. Building relationships and effectively targeting your pitch is essential. We now need to pitch by being storytellers, carefully thinking through and making sure our story is informed by research.
Relationship Analyzer. This is one of Deirdre Breakenridge’s 8 PR Practices that she spells out in her book, “Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional.” Deirdre says that the Relationship Analyzer is a strategic practice that digs into the psychographics of people based on like-mindedness and common critical issues, and the study of behavioral actions of the people in your communities is the key to achieving higher-level interactions. By understanding your audiences on social, you’ll have a much better idea of where they are coming from. Not just by reading a tweet or Facebook post, but by strategizing how that relationship can be fostered and grown.
The PR Pro as Content Creator. This is much different than when social media first burst onto the PR scene and pros were trying to figure out just how it would fit. Content creation is something that has become increasingly important to get right, with little wiggle room. Key messages can be very effective in making sure the information gets out to the people you need it to reach. Build stories around those key messages and you set a strong foundation for your content.
Our jobs as PR pros may seem to be getting easier with every new platform, and in a lot of ways that may be true. Resisting this change and choosing not to adapt, however, only hurts our profession in the long run. It is essential to constantly evolve and be scanning the changing PR landscape, in order to effectively serve our clients and our business.