A View on Skills for the PR Professional of Tomorrow
Through my favorite podcast, For Immediate Release, I discovered a very well thought-out and presented blog post by John Bell of Ogilvy PR’s Digital Team. John, like myself, is adjunct faculty (he works at Johns Hopkins and I at Georgetown), so I was particularly interested in hearing his take on what skills public relations practitioners — excuse me — “successful public relations practitioners” need to have now and beyond. As this is the my first week of class, the timing could be no better.
I have posted his list below along with the links to other posts and sources of information because this has been an ongoing piece of work for John — and one that is well done. I have also added a couple of ideas of my own. So, here goes:
“13 Skills of the PR Pro of the Future
- Create integrated marketing and communications strategy
- Deploy live ‘listening posts’ online and offline
- Design and deploy an advanced search engine optimization program
- Plan and run a new media relations program inclusive of head-of-the-tail and long tail “media”
- Identify & engage with influencers online and offline
- Manage communities
- Integrate new technologies into their own lives
- Model measurement and performance metrics including new “engagement” metrics
- Run quick pilot programs and evaluate on-the-fly
- Train staff and clients continuously
- Participate in conversations, not just ‘messaging’
- Create and execute content strategy including video programming (hifi and lowfi)
- Use digital crisis management
Thanks to Nate Pagel, Rohit Bhargava, Virginia Miracle, Kaitlyn Wilkins, Brian Giesen, Chris Brogan, Chi-chi Ekweozor, John D. , Phil M., Harro and Brendan Hodgson for ideas and insights on this list.
If you know #14 – please add it as the list will always be changing.”
Ok. So here’s my take — I can suggest a #14 and and a #15 that I discovered from 15 years on the agency side and four years of teaching.
14. Writing. The ability to tell a story, to convince someone of a point of view, to enchant someone with prose about your product all require mastery of the written word. Good writing is not just “Subject, verb, object,” it is organizing your thoughts into a pattern that engages readers. If your are in the public relations business either pitching, reporting to a client or even communicating internally, you must have this skill set to survive and prosper. I would almost be tempted to put this as #1, simply because if you can’t write, you can’t do most of the other tasks on the list.
15. Critical thinking. In my experience, an excellent public relations practitioner is quite often a good problem-solver. He/she is one who is, on almost a daily basis, presented with challenges and issues that need to get resolved or fixed. The ability to think about a problem, a challenge or an opportunity for you, your organization or your client are part-and-parcel with the ability to think critically – to dissect a problem, an issue, carefully think about potential solutions or opportunities, consider other points of view, think about consequences and then arrive (quickly, quite often) at a decision or a proposed solution.
Those are my two contributions to what I think is an excellent read.