Oct 17, 2018 / in Executive Insights / by Nick Bell

The 2018 PRSA International Conference brings together the PR industry highlighting the intersection of technology and media. Cision was present at this year’s annual conference in Austin, Texas last week. Thousands of public relations and communication professionals and students along with some of the world’s most influential companies and organizations were in attendance. There was such impressive talent at one conference with countless industry experts from different career levels and sectors. Having such a diverse group of professionals present created an exciting and energetic atmosphere as you witnessed idea sharing happening all around. It was an inspiring occasion to see the PR community come together across different parts of the world to knowledge share and connect with one another.

Meaningful and powerful connections were made as conference attendees were constantly networking. Such connections were established through engaging conversations, workshops and on-site events. The conference is a great way for industry professionals to enhance and expand upon their personal and professional network as they tap into a wide array of areas of expertise. The 2018 PRSA International Conference spanned across three days with speaking sessions covering vital information such as strategies and tools for addressing new trends impacting the industry.

This event is always a wonderful opportunity to increase one’s professional growth, development and success. The vast array of topics covered provided the latest innovative ideas and best practices to enhance one’s skillset. All the knowledge sharing inspires us to reflect on what our purpose is in the industry while encouraging us to remain innovative and creative when it comes to authentic branding and strategic thinking. The energy, fresh perspectives and insights of fellow communicators all provided gained inspiration. Since the communications profession is constantly evolving, it is important to remain immersed in knowledge sharing and learning sessions to remain aware of the latest and best practices that shape our industry and address existing challenges.

This year, I had the opportunity to lead a professional development session titled, “Modern Communications: Are You a TEAM Player?” on the topic of what it means to be a ‘modern communicator’ today alongside Cision client Aisha Fletcher, director of public relations of Brinker International. We tackled the four pillars of modern communications and how to use them to gain a competitive advantage. The four pillars are easily remembered through the acronym, TEAM.

The Four Pillars of Modern Communications

(T) Targeted: With 70 percent of comms still dependent on existing influencer and journalist relationships, modern communicators should enlist real people to help drive perception and behavior among their targeted audience.

(E) Evolved: 18 percent of marketers see comms as a fire-fighting function where it becomes reactive as opposed to proactive. However, the activities of the modern communicator must be measured by the actual value delivered to the business.

(A) Agile: 50 percent of communicators are involved in both top-level marketing initiatives and ground-level campaigns, which highlights the importance of not just speed, but also the use of data so that pitching is most efficient.

(M) Measured: Using robust tracking data to analyze how many people click, visit, or buy a product can pinpoint the types of successful campaigns that drive consumer behavior. 70 percent of communicators can currently do a better job of measuring earned media campaigns and proving its impact.

* Stats above listed from Forrester Opportunity Snapshot: A Custom Study Commissioned By Cision | October 2018


The approach above covers the key characteristics that will set modern communicators apart from average practitioners. Those who adopt modern communication best practices will be successful in changing the role of comms by making it a strategic business driver.

With Cision being the leading provider of earned media management to the PR industry, we greatly support the conference’s main goal in shining a light on the intersection of technology and media. Our presence at this year’s conference also involved a booth activation with a fun selfie station. We had many conference attendees stop by to snap a “Modern Comms Superhero,” picture to share on social media and be entered to win several prizes. Many attendees got creative with superhero accessories such as hulk hands, Wonder Woman garb and other fun photo props. We always value the opportunity to connect with comms professionals in person in fun and meaningful ways. Attendees definitely walked away with the useful strategies and tools needed to become modern-day superhero communicators.

PRSA Superher.jpg

With more than 80 professional development sessions, this year’s conference offered some of the industry’s brightest individuals who presented information about the key drivers of critical business functions, solutions for organizational challenges, and strategies for measurable outcomes. The need for the use of data was a big topic of discussion of this year. When it comes to the world of public relations, embracing data means PR professionals will have the ability to harness its power to demonstrate measurement and ROI, proving the true value of public relations. By embracing data, PR professionals will have the ability to demonstrate earned media metrics that are just as definitive as those in the paid media space. This dominating topic of discussion highlights the highly anticipated change that will be revolutionizing the industry for optimal storytelling. 

The 2018 PRSA International Conference was a reminder of the best elements that make the communications profession a unique and exciting one that embraces the art of creativity combined with the science behind data. Cision is proud to have been a part of casting a spotlight on the importance of celebrating industry wins and working toward achieving visionary ideas.

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About Nick Bell

Nick Bell is the VP of Marketing Communications at Cision. With more than 20 years of technology marketing experience, Bell has held executive-level positions with marketing technology firms including Oracle Marketing Cloud, Eloqua and Adobe. Bell has a proven track record of developing award-winning and ROI-based marketing programs, media relations, and brand strategies. Bell holds a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter @nbell94102.