Gini Dietrich

Skills PR Pros Need

By: Gini Dietrich | July 22, 2010 | 

Coming to you from Modesto, Calif., the city of “water, wealth, contentment, and health”, I pay homage to Lois Arbogast, a freshly minted U.S. citizen, and answer a question from Alex Parker.

Alex asks, “What new skills and initiative do new and mid-level PR pros need now and in the future?”

Watch the video and see if you agree. What skills do YOU think PR pros need now and in the future?

(For those of you viewing from FeedBurner, click here to see the video)

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • Great advice Gini! A point that you made in the video is that the lines of PR and marketing are getting blurry…so this is also great advice for marketers at all levels too. Love the tips! I’m sure you’ll do great on the speaking engagements! Travel safe!


    • PR, I can do an entirely different video on the PR skills marketers need now and in the future! We can begin with learning how to talk WITH customers instead of AT them.

      • Spray and pray!

        Can I be in that video with you? I have lots to say!

        • Gini’s quote hits the nail on the head.

          “We can begin with learning how to talk WITH customers instead of AT them.”

          Good thing there is a new generation of marketers who get it, and strive to view consumers as valued partners who have the power to give rich insight as opposed to “audiences.”

          You may have already seen this video. It sums up the past relationship between consumers & advertisers.

          I enjoy reading/viewing your posts and always find the comments just as insightful.

          Staci Diamond

          Cultivation is the new way to advertise. Cultivation rules.

  • Great advice, Gini – completely agree with the blurring of the lines. I simply call it media comms – at the end of the day, we’re all pretty much after the same thing, and that’s eyeballs for clients.

    You kinda remind me of Sandra Bullock – sound very alike and similar characteristics. 🙂

    • Danny, that is the nicest thing anyone has said to me all week! And after I made fun of you for being quoted about Lindsay Lohan.

  • Gini,

    Thanks for the great advice. My marketing degree introduced me to public relations and I have a decent understanding of SEO. After watching this, I’m motivated to embrace SEO the same way I embraced social media.


    • Kion, is there anything you recommend people read for a basic understanding of SEO?

  • I went to the Cross Media Toronto conference last night, and Sabrina Geremia Head of Agency Relations at Google Canada was there, as well as, RIM, Random House, etc. The talk was about industry trends and they said that Mid-Level PR people were good with content but not with relevance. Sabrina said to find positions ‘that fill knowledge gaps’ and she personally would work at a positions to strengthen her weaknesses, (tv/video skills etc) but all around everyone agreed that a PR person needed to be constantly evolving and up-and-up on the latest tech trends and software. It’s not enough to be a great traditional PR person, the buzz word was ‘digital people’ they all pressed to ‘invest your personal time’

    • Puneet, it’s really interesting that people are being advised to invest in their personal time. I completely agree with that, but boy have times changed! One of the requirements we have here of people is that they are constantly evolving. And I lead that from the top…it’s actually a written business goal that I stay ahead of trends and be forward-thinking in order to benefit our clients. Thanks for sharing what you learned at the conference!

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  • Topic near and dear to my heart. I’ve spoken on this topic to students a number of times and plan to speak to it at our annual PRSA conference up here in MN in Dec.

    Completely agree with SEO–and that’s definitely a key one.

    Just a few additional skills I think will be key PR pros’ futures:

    * Consulting skills. A basic, but one virtually everyone can use help with.

    * Blog development skills. You don’t have to be a WordPress developer, but you need to understand how blogs work and function–and a bit about the back-end (I could get smarter here, too). And, it’s not just WordPress you have to understand–organizations are using tools like Blogger, Typepad and SquareSpace to build sites every day.

    * Understanding the new measurement tools. Whether they’re the free tools or the paid ones, you need to understand how these tools work and how they can help your clients measure success online.

    • Oh my heck! If PR pros don’t already have consulting skills (we are, after all, in a client service business), then they are doomed! Thanks for pointing that out!

  • Thanks for the video Gini! I don’t know how you manage to fit it all in to your busy schedule! You have definitely encouraged me to research and better understand SEO. Thanks!


  • Gini, Smart advice and like your take on it; not the usual writing and digital media skills tips.

    A while back Peter Shankman, aka @skydiver, wrote a post about SEO and that if it’s not part of your marketing plan, then you’re not really marketing. So true, so a marketing communicators, be it social media, PR, advertising with blurred lines, we need to learn how to write strategically for optimal searching.

    I’ve written my own posts about it, that there are only 2 ways people find anything these days: Ask (friends, family; IRL or online) and Search.

    Bringing it back to business is near and dear to my heart. It’s why I minored in B.A; PR is as much a business function as communications. The strategy, plans and tactics should be developed to support the business initiatives, the bottom line.

    Agree with some of the comments about the tech skills, but it still boils down to basic human communication: talking with people, not at them like you said, telling a good story. Then of course, getting that story out there in a way that people can find it, share it and then use it (i.e. support the brands behind it). FWIW.

    • Storytelling and treating people like humans. Bingo Davina!

  • Gini, I have an extremely important question to ask you. When you stay in a hotel with two beds. Are you like myself where you will sleep on one for one night and then change to the next for the other night?

    Once while staying in a suite in Vegas that had two beds. I used one for sleeping at night and the other one for short 1 hour naps after too many hours at the blackjack table.

    • Nick, I use one for my suitcase and for letting my workout clothes dry and the other for sleeping. 🙂

  • Gini! Thanks for the warm wishes 🙂 You’re the best and I’m so excited to finally be a citizen of this great country. Now if only I lived in Chicago all would be right with the world.

    Great advice after my shout-out, too. You’re a rock star.


  • Phenomenal post Gini! We here at Smart Gray Matter appreciate your assistance in educating the midwest. SEO is important, however, the principles you learn from SEO enable you to really re-examine SMO and what it means to a business.

    Smart Gray Matter’s acronym for the “blurring of the lines” is “DBM.” This stands for Dynamic Brand Management. Since we can all agree that a SM team would facilitate PR/Advertising/Marketing our strategy would include pulling the elite from each department so as to build your Dynamic Brand Management team.

    Hope all is well, and thanks again for the great VLOG!

  • What are some books on SEO you can recommend? Any personal favorites?

  • Fantastic post Gini! Academically, I have a PR background but currently I’m working in SEO and I have to say that it’s been tough to explain to others how both SEO and PR can be blended together effectively.

    At PR conferences or even from other PR professionals, I’ve seen a little hostility toward things like social media and SEO, even though, I think, they can greatly benefit from these new technologies and the blurring of the lines that you mentioned.

    Thanks for the wonderful post and hope you had a great trip!

    • You definitely have an advantage, Mandy! It’s a darn shame that PR pros give SEO and social media hostility. You’re one of the few who will be ahead of the trend!

  • *blush* You made my day. Thank you! 🙂

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