About six years ago, Deirdre Breakenridge published Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional.
In it, she describes what she calls the hybrid PR professional.
This is the person who works with marketing, advertising, digital creation, communications, and brand building.
But it doesn’t stop there.
The hybrid professional also works well with legal, IT, customer service, and R&D.
She even goes so far as to show the career path for the hybrid PR professional.
That was six years ago…and we’re still having the conversation today.
Mike Connell wrote earlier this week about PR vs marketing—and asked…aren’t they one and the same?
As it turns out, we’re still having this conversation because communications hasn’t stepped up to own this hybrid role.
Search experts are beginning to pitch media—mostly for the end results of the link back to their website.
Marketers are beginning to own influencer relations.
And communicators are letting them take over some of the most basic tenets of our roles.
That’s why I thought it important enough to review Deirdre’s hybrid PR professional role again.
The Eight Skills of the Hybrid PR Professional
- PR policymaker
- Internal collaboration generator
- PR technology tester
- The communication organizaer
- The pre-crisis doctor
- The relationship analyzer
- The reputation task force master
- Master of metrics
Let’s take a look at how the hybrid PR professional needs to have each of these eight tenets.
The PR policymaker is just that; the person creates the policies that are needed for not just social media use, but for the integration of traditional marketing and communications.
You must create an audit to begin to develop a policy.
From there, you develop a matrix that lists all of the weaknesses or liabilities your company or client has.
Then you find the best policy practices in your industry.
Finally, you take all of that information and create the policy that includes every discipline, not just “here is what we want you to do on social media.”
Remember, the hybrid PR professional works with every discipline, so they’re all included in the policy.
Internal Collaboration Generator
The internal collaboration generator starts with good internal communication to figure out what kinds of tools are needed or taps into the platforms already available.
There are three different phases (which fits every size company) and includes tools such as Google Docs and Basecamp, Zoom and Skype, and enterprise solutions such as Sharepoint.
The internal collaboration generator is focused on breaking down the silos and getting everyone to work together (a concept Geoff Livingston and I discuss at great length in Marketing in the Round).
The hybrid PR professional can gain consensus easily and effectively.
PR Technology Tester
The PR technology tester tests the new technologies.
And come on, who wouldn’t want that job? That’s half the fun of what we get to do today.
The PR technology tester allows IT to do what they should be doing instead of uploading to the newsroom or inserting the proper links or making sure the photos are where they need to be.
The PR technology tester works with content management systems and learns new technologies that allow everyone to be more efficient.
The hybrid PR professional knows enough to be dangerous on the back-end of websites and can create landing pages and do basic SEO.
The Communication Organizer
The communication organizer listens, creates a content development approach, and develops a playbook for the entire organization to use.
You must first listen so you understand how to develop relevant content.
Using a two pronged approach, you can create your playbook.
- Use existing content and repurpose it to make it social; and
- How to identify community interests that can be addressed through content.
The hybrid PR professional can take the playbook and make it applicable to everyone in the organization.
The Pre-Crisis Doctor
The pre-crisis doctor creates a plan that brings in the right teams before a crisis occurs.
Last week, we talked about the university crisis where a student exposed five people to HIV and HepC.
The hybrid PR professional knows to bring in advancement, student services, community relations, communications, risk management, and the attorneys to have prepare for any and all crises.
In the discussion, you should include general company questions, customer service complaints, spam, personal service, bad experience, and misguided information.
Learn how to listen for those types of comments, and create a comment response chart that helps mitigate issues before they become fires.
The Relationship Analyzer
It won’t come as a surprise to you that one of the practices of the hybrid PR professional is the relationship analyzer.
This is what we do—and do well.
Leverage your influencers to help you grow relationships.
Today you have tools such as Traackr and BuzzSumo to help you find your macro- and micro-influencers..
Start to build relationships, analyze how those relationships help your organization, and grow from there.
The Reputation Task Force Member
The reputation task force member compares sentiment on platforms, reviews emotion and tone, looks at competitors, analyzes influencers, and ties it all to customer confidence.
The hybrid PR professional has strong ethics, can be the brand police, and is the social voice.
He or she can manage the reputation of your company or your client’s brands.
Master of the Metrics
From where I sit, this is the most important one.
The master of the metrics learns how to build the strategy using data available to help you make decisions.
It allows you to create goals and helps you get the entire organization moving in the same direction.
In Deirdre’s book, she provides a chart that shows you what different people want to see, in terms of results, and the specific data to give them.
So, if you report directly to the executive team, she gives you a list of metrics to give them every week.
She also shows you how to develop the goals and provides an example of a dashboard report.
Between this book and the PR metrics we provide, there is no reason you can’t do this today.
Take the Seat at the Table Already
It makes me crazy that in 2018 we are still having this conversation.
Communicators, by nature, are relationship builders, writers, consensus changers, reputation managers, and brand advocates.
These are the skills necessary for the hybrid PR professional.
Let’s stop having the conversation and take our place at the coveted table.
We deserve to be there.