February 22, 2009

A New Era for the PR Professional?

Posted in Industry Standards at 8:18 pm by SD

From the endless supply of snacks in the breakroom to the marketing budget, nothing is sacred as companies try to slash costs. However, one budget seems to be faring better in this recession (as compared to ones past where it was the first to go), public relations. Yes, you heard me right. Public relations budgets, while not increasing, are remaining strong and seem to be avoiding the chopping block.

This trend has a lot to do with members of the C-suite understanding the value of public relations, but I think there is another major factor playing a role here. Over the past several years, the PR practitioner/agency/department has learned to wear many hats.

Used to being short on budget and tall on items to accomplish, PR people have learned to do more with less – something that is necessary in a downturn.

Gone are the days when PR people only do media relations. Today’s successful PR pro not only does media relations but creates and executes new media strategies, creates content, develops thought leadership campaigns to position company executives, manages employee communications, ensures the company is staying true to its brand in all of its communications, coordinates events and much more while staying within or below budget.

The time where the PR person’s sole responsibility was writing press releases and doing media relations is dead.

We live in a new PR world where our role can change 10 times in an hour. You can be monitoring blog mentions one minute and discussing brand strategy the next. Don’t forget to throw in a little messaging, web copy drafting and event planning in there. Sound like a typical hour of your day?

Our ability to perform multiple tasks without missing a beat is exactly what makes us valuable in the economic downturn. We’re now the go-to people for all types of communications needs. It’s our job to step up to this challenge and prove our value in tough times. We’ve got to stay current on new trends, not just public relations but marketing, branding and advertising. We’ve got to understand how business works. That means knowing how to read a balance sheet, understand economics and be able to discuss the financial markets.

It’s a new era for the PR professional. Are you up for it?

I am.



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