To do public relations well you need to have a critical mind -- to develop compelling content. You need to be able to see fresh angles and points of view in a company, product, or service story so that benefits to the reader come across in all their glory, without writing a sell sheet in a press release.
Today, you need a whole set of new skills. With new media, you need to understand the digital space a lot better, how to integrate marketing communications, the value of search engine optimization (SEO), who is influential in the niche where your client is, how you set up listening posts, how to measure the results of your strategies, and be comfortable with new technologies.
You also need to learn how to manage your client's expectations and deliver the hard message of putting skin in the game -- directly, or through you -- with your results. You may be called upon to be more than an adviser when it comes to managing communities, and helping in case of a crisis.
To be good at all of this, you will become emotionally vested in the outcome. While new media work may take you to a whole new level, it presents some challenges:
- you need to build your own brand to demonstrate expertise without creating friction at work
- online you need to toe the company line, and disclose when you're doing that
- you're called to draw from your personality, along with your experience
- you're working at all hours and need to find ways to have a life
- you're looking to create new trends and the industry is stuck in old ways
Is new media allowing companies to benefit from people taking on more roles and work without proper recalibrating and compensation?
Many organizations are struggling with the fact that someone who is really good in new media helps pull the brand or company they connect by virtue of their own name recognition.
On the other hand, companies tend to be suspicious of PR professionals and agencies that, in their eyes, spend time gaining publicity for themselves. They think it comes at a cost to clients -- they will not get better results for the brand than those who focus on it exclusively, at the expense of their own popularity.
We talk a lot about the public nature of public relations, yet we spend little time thinking about the profession's private nature.
These are some interesting trends I've observed and discussed with practitioners. Companies struggle with loss of control the most, are we in danger of seeing that control shift from the message to the people who carry it?
What do you think?
© 2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.