Home > PR and social media > To Stay Relevant How Do Communications Professionals Need To Evolve?

To Stay Relevant How Do Communications Professionals Need To Evolve?

September 15, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Part two the four part 4/4/4 blog series in which Steve Farnsworth, Lou Hoffman, Todd Defren and I (with open invite to all other communications bloggers) each blog on the same topic. This week’s topic is: to stay relevant how do communications professionals need to evolve?

Without checking birth certificates, I’m going to guess that Steve, Lou, Todd and I are of a similar enough age where we all have some experience with pre-Twitter technology such as copy and fax machines, hard copy press kits, clip books put together with scissors and tape, and museum quality pieces such as the big green Bacon’s Media Guide.

The point is that until recently, evolving for a communications professional was mostly about adopting new technology. The previous technology advances – email, online directories etc. – leveled the playing field. We all learned how to use them without any significant competitive advantage being gained.

Social media – is changing the communications industry. No big news flash here I realize.  But, the larger point with social media is that it is forcing what we’ve all seen coming for a long time – the evolution (and collision) of PR, communications and marketing.

The lines are quickly blurring between what is PR and what is marketing and if you don’t accept that, creating an ‘evolution plan’ will be very difficult.

There are a number of different ways communications professionals can evolve to stay relevant, but a large part of that evolution should include building a strong network of communications professionals in order to keep current on the industry and doing so by using the very tools (blogs and Twitter) our clients are using.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t think you need to have a blog with Amazon.com type traffic numbers or a Klout score over 90 to be capable of running a world-class communications program. But, all things being equal, a communications professional that has proven the ability to write for different media (writing tweets is very different than writing a blog), and can reach an audience via social media has an advantage over the communications professional who only provides lip service to social media while sporting 99 followers (including porn bots) on a Twitter account with one update a month.

Make no mistake, evolving and staying current in any industry that is rapidly changing is challenging and requires serious effort – the fact that I’m writing this blog at 5:30 in the morning shows that staying current isn’t easy when you already have a day job.

So, to stay relevant, tomorrow’s communications professionals need to evolve into strong writers, know how to reach a target audience, have a solid grasp of all the communication vehicles and technologies available…Hmmm, maybe social media hasn’t changed things so much after all.

See what Steve Frarnsworth, Lou Hoffman and Todd Defren think communication professionals need to do to stay relevant.
Also see Don Jennings’ take on the LP&P blog.

  1. September 20, 2010 at 9:18 am

    We are at a conflux in PR to be certain – the merging of marketing, PR and communications, as you noted, but also community relations, branding, corporate responsibility and technology. It feels like everything is everywhere, all the time. There are no silos, the lines are blurred, and it’s invigorating yet challenging.

    I am speaking about a similar issue (social media’s effect on media relations) locally on Tuesday and have already drafted a blog post about it. All that is to say that from Boise to Boston, professionals are talking about the need to step it up or get left behind.

    I love that I have experience fax blasting press releases printed from Kinkos because the firm didn’t own a printer. Those experiences helped mold my career, but I am not about to let my love of the good old days let me become moldy. It’s do or die and I find it frustrating when I turn to experienced pros and they are refusing to use the new tools or worse, missing opportunities for clients because they are not using those tools.

    I like that you are taking a professional leadership role (along with the gentlemen you mentioned) in addressing this issues head on. Great post and please fax it to the people who aren’t following your blog.

    ~ Jules

    PS. I loved the big green Bacon’s Media Guide (I was an intern then, by the way.)

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