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Adapt Your PR Skills or Die

This is a guest post by Vocus webinar speaker Gabrielle Laine-Peters. She will present Future Skills for PR on May 12.

“Public Relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you,” according to the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. Maybe ‘Perceived Reputation’ is a better term for PR.

Evolution of PR Skills

We are in the business of reputation management and brand perception. Digital Darwinism* is a reality.

*When technology and society are evolving faster than the ability of many organisations to adapt.

Kodak, Blockbuster…we all know the history. But people and services can also fall into this trap. As PR professionals we need to evolve and adapt our skills. In this uber-connected, increasingly transparent landscape our core skills remain the same, modification of those skills is just part of continued development.

For example, good writing will always be required, but brevity in 140 characters needs practice.

The clue is in the title ‘Public Relations.’ We live and work in a world that is more connected and informed than ever before. ( Brian Solis calls it the C Generation, C for connected.)

As PR’s we need to stay informed, connected and cultivate professional relationships. Much of this information, thanks to social media and the 24-hour news cycle, is consumed in near real time. Adapting our skills is key to surviving and thriving in this new digital landscape.

The proliferation of technology and mobile has escalated the PR process. This fragmentation should be seen as an opportunity. With so many new communication channels nobody can master them all, as they are constantly changing and developing.

We should have a good working understanding of media platforms and tools. We have moved rapidly over recent years from being specialists of digital, social, online, offline; it is all just media, all tools in the toolbox. Learn enough to be confident in understanding which tool or combination to use to complete a task or project.

PR Skills

Hand in hand with all the digital activity comes data. Analytics and measurement can make some people uneasy; but more data also means more tools to help interpret all this information. Learning to use these tools is a key skill to have.

More than ever PR is about relationship building. Relationships take time and are reciprocal. For example, the days of the blanket email press release has gone. How many emails do you open each day and read, in full?

If a communication is from a known and trusted source (someone who always gives value), you will open it. I was recently told by a journalist that he always takes my communications (text, Twitter Direct Message, etc.) because the information is always verified, concise and relevant to him or just plain fun!

It’s not just about work. Lines are blurring between professional, social and personal, they are all facets of the same person, you. Get to know journalists, and allow them to get to know you.

With social media this is easier than ever before. The network you build online and face to face is essential. Take the time to develop your digital footprint, walk the walk and talk the talk.

Don’t fall victim to Digital Darwinism. Survive and thrive by adapting your PR skills. Register for Gabrielle’s webinar today!

Image: Bryan Wright (Creative Commons)

About Brian Conlin

Brian Conlin is a content marketing manager for Cision. A former journalist, he enjoys researching and developing accessible content. When not writing, you will find him watching baseball and college basketball, sampling craft beer and enjoying Baltimore. Find him on Twitter @BrianConlin13.

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