The PR industry will change more in the next 10 years than it has in the last 100.
Pricing models, core service offerings, professional training programs, academic curriculum, campaign success measurements, software, industry leadership, media and public relations’ role in the marketing mix are all rapidly evolving.
Relationships and communications will remain the foundation of the PR industry, but they will be fostered through search engines, social networks, Websites, self-published content (i.e. blogs, status updates, videos, case studies, eBooks), mobile apps and the media (mainstream and social).
Risk takers and visionaries will redefine the industry. Professionals who choose to take action and accelerate the evolution will thrive.
The Hybrid Professional
As we wrote in the Dawn of the Inbound Marketing Agency, the new, social-media savvy PR professionals will be expert copywriters (as most PR pros are), with dynamic personalities that enable them to build strong personal brands.
Professionals will be trained to deliver services such as: content marketing, social media consulting, blogging, search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, mobile marketing and Website development, as well as evolved forms of publicity, brand marketing and crisis communications.
In essence, they will be a hybrid professional, providing integrated solutions for PR, Web, SEO, advertising and branding that used to require multiple agencies and consultants. As a result, these complementary, yet competitive, industries will converge.
Traits & Tips
1) Social-Web Savvy: Monitor and participate in forums and social networks relevant to your interests and the industry. Get active on Twitter and become a part of the conversation.
Also, accept that for most of the professional world Facebook is a vehicle to communicate and build business relationships, and companies will hold you liable for what you do and say online. If this scares you, check out 10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know.
2) Inbound Marketer: Build inbound marketing campaigns based on permission-based marketing strategies (i.e. SEO, blogging, PPC, content publishing, social networking) that enable your organization to connect with qualified consumers online when they are actively looking for what you offer.
3) Publisher: Publish content, either on your own blog or as a contributing author on an industry or company blog. One of your greatest assets as a PR pro is your ability to write, so always seek opportunities to strengthen your technical and creative writing skills.
4) Analyst: Learn to love data. Emerging PR pros don’t hide behind impressions and ad equivalency, rather they are judged by tangible success factors such as search engine rankings, Website traffic, inbound links, leads and sales.
5) Relationship Builder: Remember that relationships are still built face-to-face. Get out from behind the computer screen and mingle with your peers, clients, prospects and the media.
6) Lifelong Student: Continually expand your knowledge and capabilities beyond the traditional skill sets of PR, advertising and marketing professionals. Consider ongoing training and education in the areas of search engine optimization, social networks, analytics, pay-per-click advertising, digital publishing and mobile marketing.
7) Thought Leader: Challenge conventional industry wisdom and practices. Always bring new ideas to the table.
8) Risk Taker: Take calculated risks, and don’t ever let fear of failure hold you back.
9) Tech-Savvy: The tools that we use to communicate and market are constantly evolving. The PR industry of today is no place for stubborn traditionalists. Always be researching and testing what’s new, and what’s next. Stay informed on emerging technologies, and consider their application to your organization and career.
10) Game Changer: The PR industry is going to change with or without you. Don’t be left on the outside looking in.
Paul Roetzer is founder and president of PR 20/20, a Cleveland-based inbound marketing agency and PR firm. He can be found on Twitter @PaulRoetzer.
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