Inside the Profession

Friday Five: Reshaping PR for the 21st Century

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As a public relations professional, it can be challenging to explain to others what our job entails. While the core of our PR activities basically remains the same, the expanding role of a PR pro requires new skills to navigate the changing landscape that technology and social media have created. Not only are PR professionals responsible for updating their own set of skills, they are sought after by senior executives to revolutionize their companies from inside out with innovative ideas, proving this to be a very good time for communication professionals to insert their authority into the larger corporate picture.

In this week’s PRSA “Friday Five” post — an analysis of the week’s biggest public relations and business news and commentary — we explore how various public relations functions are evolving and presenting new opportunities for professionals to develop more intuitive skills. We will also look at how communicators are playing a more dynamic role, offering counsel to their senior constituents and reshaping business as usual to better connect with existing clients.

5 Reasons Your Next Press Release Should Be Visual (EverythingPR)

It takes journalists about three seconds before they decide whether or not to toss your press release. EverythingPR’s Danny Ashton talks about how graphic heavy press releases can help journalists better visualize your story. The use of graphics allows PR pros to present their news in a more personalized and unique way. Here are a few reasons why Ashton believes this will work for your next press release:

  1. People are visual. 65% of people are visual learners. Graphics and video are better teasers than a text-only release.
  2. Journalists want it. Graphics help journalist convey your story to their audience. The less work journalists have to do to tell your story the more likely they will be willing to share your news.
  3. Visual help with the story. Visuals stimulate the brain and offer readers an alternative way to connect to the story.

Measurement is Sexy. Really (PRNews)

PRNews contributor Diane Schwartz calls measurement the new black. For every PR campaign you spearhead, your CEO wants to know more about tone, product awareness and share of voice. Measuring PR efforts allows your internal audiences like your CEO and stakeholders to understand the impact a PR campaign can have on the brand’s reputation and bottom line. One of the best ways a company can show their support of their PR department is to invest in measurement and heed PR’s counsel based on the results. Check out a recent PR News/CARMA survey which explores the issue of PR measurement further and reveals how underutilized measurement still is in the PR profession.

Communicators Must Dare to Be Bold (PRWeek)

According to a Gibbs & Soell/Harris Interactive study, the public is split 50-50, with half wanting corporate leaders to be successful risk managers, while the other 50% crave boldness and innovation when it comes to C-suite level decision making. We’ve seen examples of this boldness come from companies like Walmart who decided, in the 1980’s during challenging times for the economy, to open new store and cut prices. Nissan is another example, reviving the old Datsun brand last year after being off the market for nearly three decades and even Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer creating a ban on telecommuting earlier this year. While bold decisions can lead to legendary business opportunities and reputations, now is the time for communication professionals to take a “seat at the table” and offer proper counsel to corporate leaders to ensure sustainable business practices.

Four New Roles for PR Pros (Ragan’s PR Daily)

Arment Dietrich CEO Gini Dietrich gave her remarks at a recent Ragan Communications’ PR and Social Media Summit in Chicago and in her address to the audience she discussed the increasing number of projects that PR professionals are now spearheading. Dietrich also discussed the urgency to learn new skills as technology continues to change the way PR professionals do their job. Here is a preview of some of those skills Dietrich focuses on:

  1. Hyper-targeted media and blogger relations. Get to know the bloggers you are reaching out to and send a few targeted, researched pitches instead of mass emails. Tailored pitches will get a bloggers attention and allow PR pros to begin building relationships.
  2. Content marketing and search optimization. PR pros should learn to use Google+ to promote content. Using Google+ helps to boost your search results.

The New Look of Public Relations (The New York Times)

Finally, we look at one giant agency that has taken into account all of the professional nuances and advice shaping the PR profession and will be taking a new shape of its own, so to say. Fleishman-Hillard, founded in 1946 as Fleishman, Hillard & Associates will be undergoing a 21st century face lift as the agency prepares to reshape itself to better serve marketer clients. The rebrand will include a new logo and new slogan, “The power of true,” and the company will now go by FleishmanHillard. The rebranding initiative is meant to convey the company’s promise “to be a trusted adviser to guide [clients] through the maze of choices.” The agency is moving into a new space in an effort to create better relationships with existing clients.

Nicole Castro is the public relations associate at the Public Relations Society of America.





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Nicole Castro

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