As Spring is gradually making its presence felt*, and the days are getting longer, it’s typically a time of year when we look at fresh beginnings, de-cluttering, shaking off the winter layers and looking forward to starting something new.
All of which has made me think about the parallels in the PR industry: as we head into a new season, what new skills are top of the list that we need to continuously build on to ensure that our messages are reaching the right audience on the right platform. Keeping messages fresh and relevant is about making sure that campaigns are delivered in the best way.
And is it a case of ‘out with the old’ in terms of the core skills that have underpinned PR? We’ve seen for some time that there is an increasing need for agencies and professionals to deliver a new mix of skills and services. Change is, of course, inevitable, but, in this era of multi-channel, multi-media campaigns, there are ‘perennial’ PR skills that will always be relevant now that the so-called ‘new skills’ are in ever greater demand, for example….
Video and Audio
Video is a powerful way to communicate a message and great video content – testimonials, Q and A’s – will keep the audience engaged, gives them an opportunity to share content and visit a website. All of which makes video skills an important part of the new skills mix for PR professionals.
PR is about integrating with other disciplines; social media, digital and SEO are now so integral to campaigns. Knowledge of digital channels is a must as stories and content need to be communicated across different platforms. Expertise in social media is no longer an add-on but a must-have as messages need to be adapted, optimised and delivered through different online channels and social media.
Analysis and reporting
PR has typically been the domain of the wordsmith but crunching the numbers, through data analysis and the ability to evaluate the results of a PR campaign across different platforms, is increasingly important. From Google Analytics (described in a previous blog post) to coverage analysis, demonstrating the ROI and understanding the impact of coverage can help to inform future campaigns.
The mix of skills and new disciplines is one of the reasons why PR remains a dynamic and exciting industry to be in. Yet there are skills which will always be the bedrock of PR; communication, creativity, research, pitching and telling a story. Communication is key, from written to verbal this remains at the heart of PR. Pitching and telling a good story requires research to understand the markets, journalists and industry trends. And we need to get creative to find new and innovative ways to deliver compelling stories and great content.
The answer, so often, lies somewhere in the middle. The core skills are essential, but we should never stop looking to the future, learning new ways of reaching an audience and communicating a story in a way that best achieves the objectives of clients.
*I should add that as I write it’s 12 degrees and raining, so probably not time to crack open the sun cream just yet!
Kirsten is an Account Director at éclat Marketing. She looks after PR for people in cybersecurity, broadcast, telecommunications and business technology. Having read English Literature at Manchester University, she regards ‘what’s your favourite book’ as a decidedly unfair question. Connect on Google+, LinkedIn or Twitter