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Gini Dietrich

Six Skills Every PR Pro Needs

By: Gini Dietrich | December 20, 2011 | 
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If you missed it a few weeks ago, the New York Times wrote a piece about redefining public relations.

You see, the last time PR was defined was in 1982. Yes, 30 years ago.

And, in the last five years, our industry has completely been turned on its head.

All of the journalists we spent our entire careers building relationships with were suddenly unemployed.

Companies began to rush to figure out how to make money with the newest and shiniest penny.

Paid and earned media had a new sibling: Owned media.

And marketing, public relations, and advertising began the “who owns this” fight.

But we’re entering a new year – a year where all of these things are meeting their mid-level experience.

So it’s time to think about the key skills you need to have going into 2012 and beyond.

  1. Search Engine Optimization. It makes sense that a lot of the content that is being produced comes out of PR. We’ve always been writers and readers. Now we have to take that skill and learn how to optimize our content so it’s being crawled by the search engines, while also being highly valuable and engaging.
  2. Search Engine Marketing. This doesn’t typically fall into a PR pro’s toolbox because it’s pay-per-click and ads. But if you don’t have an understanding of how it works, how to do A/B testing, and what to do with the results, you won’t be #winning.
  3. Content Marketing. Content goes beyond the white papers and advertorials we’re accustomed to doing. It’s videos and podcasts and blogs and emails and eBooks and more. The thing about content marketing is, if you don’t do it yourself, you’ll never truly understand it. Start yourself a personal Tumblr blog, get on WordPress, or even try out Blogger (though it’s not as good as the others). When you are developing content for something personal, you begin to understand the applications it has for clients, as well as how to build community.
  4. Inbound Marketing. This goes hand-in-hand with content marketing because it all about the engaging and valuable content you’re creating. But it’s driving leads. So you’re going to write content that drives people to your site and encourages them to buy. Content that has headlines around what people search. For instance, one of our highest read blog posts is PR vs. marketing. That’s because people search that term and we have content to fulfill their need (plus a webinar they can buy on it).
  5. Integration. 2012 is going to be the year of integration. PR is going to work with sales. Marketing is going to work with advertising. Customer service is going to work with product development. Instead of the silos we’re all accustomed to having, we’ll become a hub where information is shared and the left and right hands know what the other is doing. No longer will we have the “who owns this” fight.
  6. Results. Gone are the days of media impressions and advertising equivalencies. You need to gain yourself some business knowledge (how the company makes money) and some marketing expertise (how to target audiences to buy, using owned media). This is the only way you’ll understand how the work you’re doing is not just generating sales, but creating profit.

It’s a great time to be in this industry. We get to learn, expand our horizons, and get out of our comfort boxes. So go do it!

This first appeared on Buzz Bin, the CRT/Tanaka blog.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

86 comments
GalaxyKannanGtp
GalaxyKannanGtp

Wow...... good tips about the skills what a PR should posses........ Really a very good article....

Thank......... You........

Bensie Dorien

prcompanionpr@gmail.com

www.prcompanion.com

James Martinez
James Martinez

Great post! Question: You said "Gone are the days of media impressions and advertising equivalencies..." I put together a media relations results recap every month for the non-profit I work for. They love the impressions and ad equivelencies info, but what else can or should I give them or tell them as a bottom line result that they can understand? Thanks!

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

Great post. I'm sticking it on my bulletin board so that I've mastered each one of these before 2012 ends :) Admittedly I'm a little weak on #2... of course I know what it does, but I'm in need of an intensive course to understand it better. Thanks for the kick in the pants.

smccollo
smccollo

Anyone who is just now beginning to look at integrating, is already way behind the times.

wordsdonewrite
wordsdonewrite

RT @ginidietrich Our jobs, as PR pros, are integrating w\/other disciplines. Here are 6 skills we need to learn http:\/\/t.co\/cu0hiMVB

ToddBartlett
ToddBartlett

Gini,

Excellent post. Of the six skills integration seems to be the most important one. As technology and social media continues to evolve it is becoming increasingly more important that companies integrate their departments and communication tactics. In their book IMC-The Next Generation authors Don and Heidi Schultz do a great job discussing this topic in greater detail. However, it has been almost ten years since the publication of their book and we are just now starting to see companies shift from a traditional compartmentalized run organization to a more integrated run organization. I look forward to reading your book in May so I can further my knowledge on this subject.

FollowtheLawyer
FollowtheLawyer

I think these six embody a 7th implicit need: curiosity. As you touch on in #2, understanding adjacencies, interconnections and extensions to traditional "PR" makes one a far more valuable to clients, particularly those that place a premium on integrated marketing and communications. The ability to generate novel insights and draw unexpected connections can elevate and distinguish your practice and your brand.

janwong
janwong

I like how the article highlighted 'integration' simply because that is what is lacking in organizations today. Customer service does their thing and the marketing team does another. The sales team, HR and all the other departments act individually. It is about time they work together with a common 'social' strategy to reach out to their target audience collectively. The challenge is - "how".

a_greenwood
a_greenwood

Bless you for saying this: "Gone are the days of media impressions and advertising equivalencies."

adamtoporek
adamtoporek

@ginidietrich Yep, got it! Excited that part is done. Starting work this evening on finding a designer.

ToddBartlett
ToddBartlett

@JayBaer Great point Jay. I think email is most effective when it is integrated with social and content marketing.

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

@janwong In 1999 I worked as a webmaster for a manufacturing firm. I routinely met with department managers who wanted to put their own content on the website. Their ideas were circles and I told them the website could only allow for squares, so we met halfway and I created online what they wanted to show.

Nothing was social back then, unless a web visitor clicked an email link. But I helped enable departments to talk to each other for the benefit of the web visitor, because on the corporate website, all departments were equals.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@janwong Funny you should ask as there is a book coming out in May that describes how. :)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@Elaine_Fogel I hope not! In 2000-2001 it was beginning to happen when the dot com bubble burst and we had the 9/11 tragedy. So everyone retreated to their corners to protect their fiefdoms. In the past three years, we've been working with clients to break down the silos. And a lot of the research I'm seeing from CMOs is they're trying to do the same. I think it's going to be imperative, if PR pros want to maintain their jobs.

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

@ginidietrich@JayBaer It's my very, very favorite form of marketing; to do it effectively you need great writing and a killer subject line. It's like solving a puzzle and I love the challenge.

janwong
janwong

@Ari Herzog I would think back then that was considered as being social since it involved both internal and external brand communications. You're right. The secret sauce for integration may still remain to enable departments communicate effectively and collaboratively to their audiences.

janwong
janwong

@ginidietrich Oh, there is? Maybe I missed that out somewhere. Would love to read that book :)

a_greenwood
a_greenwood

@ginidietrich Yes! So tired of being asked for these--useless! Thanks for a great post and a fantastic year of quality blogging, Gini.

a_greenwood
a_greenwood

@ginidietrich I have to a do a better job educating then--it seems to fall on deaf ears. And you are welcome!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich moderator

@a_greenwood I find we have to educate our clients on WHY they're not necessary and how they don't make a difference. It's a process, that's for sure.

And...thank you!

Trackbacks

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  2. [...] Post: Six Skills Every PR Pro Needs – If you missed it a few weeks ago, the New York Times wrote a piece about redefining public [...]

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