Gini Dietrich

Six Skills Every PR Pro Needs

By: Gini Dietrich | August 12, 2014 | 
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Six Skills Every PR Pro NeedsBy Gini Dietrich

One of the blog topic ideas I have in my Google doc is “rework old posts.”

That’s not very exciting to me. I’d rather get fired up and write about the woman who writes all women should quit their jobs to raise their kids (that post is coming soon) or part two to my Lies PR Firms Tell post.

But we counsel clients nearly daily to rework old content and help them repurpose it in a way that is meaningful both to their efforts and to their readers.

So I decided to take my own advice.

I went into our admin and randomly decided to go to page 71 of the published posts. This got me to December of 2011.

There I found a blog post about the new sibling of paid and earned media: Owned media.

Six Skills Every PR Pro Needs

It was then that I first began to talk about the PESO model and how marketing, public relations, and advertising were fighting the “who owns this” fight.

I also talked about the six skills a PR pro needs to have going into 2012 and beyond.

They still apply today…mostly because nearly three years later, we’re still fighting the “PR is more than media relations” perception.

  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 the PR pro 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 (how funny is it that Charlie Sheen’s fall from grace was three years ago?!?!).
  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 or your organizations, and how to build community.
  4. Inbound Marketing. This goes hand-in-hand with content marketing because it’s all about the engaging and valuable content you’re creating, while 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. I said 2012 was going to be the year of integration. Of course, I had a vested interest in that happening because it also was the year Marketing in the Round came out. I’m sorry to say it didn’t happen. A PR pro still has to work with sales. Marketing still has to work with advertising. Customer service still has to work with product development. Instead of the silos we’re all accustomed to having, we still need to become a hub where information is shared and the left and right hands know what the other is doing. Someday we will no longer have the “who owns this” fight. Someday.
  6. Results. Gone are the days of media impressions and advertising equivalencies. A PR pro needs to gain 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.

Howie Goldfarb and I had a conversation last night about the old guard PR firms.

While they’re still hanging around, they won’t be able to sell only media relations and events and crisis communications for much longer.

Clients and executives are getting more savvy. They’re hearing their friends on the golf course talk about how their organizations are growing and it seems like everyone is talking about their friend’s companies and not them.

That is coming from the PR side of things.

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!

Photo credit: Clearly I like monkeys and I like using them in images. I won’t apologize for it.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.