For those already working in the public relations industry, it goes without saying that this is a world of constant flux and change. Though the purpose of public relations will always be to effectively manage a client’s public perception, be they an individual, business, government or organization, the skills required to do this successfully are always evolving. This is not to say that traditional public relations skills are redundant; on the contrary, a solid foundation and industry experience are more important than ever. Nonetheless, emerging skills are a critical part of evolving as a public relations professional, and are more than just a gimmicky cherry-on-top of your CV.
Here are the skills a public relations professional should seek to cultivate in 2020.
- Advertising copywriting
Online advertising is here to stay and is, by its nature, rooted in messaging skills rather than just creative flair. As such, public relations agencies are increasingly being handed the keys to a brand’s social media management, e-newsletters, Facebook advertising, and more.
This year, managing a brand requires a skill set that spans both copywriting and advertising.
- Video editing and production
Another impact of the growth of social media is the explosion in the popularity of video content. Client’s budgets and expectations are increasingly devoted to the creation, editing, and distribution of unique company content, including video-based interviews and explainers.
The modern public relations professional should be comfortable using a range of tools, from editing software like Final Cut Pro and PhotoShop, to monitoring and analytics tools such as SM2, Sysomos and Radian6.
The shift from consumer browser use to an increasing dependence on smartphones has been a long time coming. This year, public relations professionals must embrace this trend and leverage mobile use as a daily and core part of communications strategies.
Indeed, mobile should be considered a business driver, not an add-on. This area of communications is no longer just about slapping a QR code on everything.
Today’s public relations professional is expected to collect, handle and understand almost unlimited amounts of data about key audiences. This means analyzing large amounts of data about search behaviors, engagement patterns on Facebook and understanding how to measure the actual impact of a communications campaign against business objectives.
In 2020, public relations agencies can no longer only focus on words. They have to work with the numbers too, and those who remain uncomfortable doing data analysis will, in the end, be left behind.
- Managing virtual teams
This shift is taking place across a number of industries, but no less than the world of public relations. More and more companies are allowing their employees to work remotely, while others are entirely virtual. This requires a new level of people management skills, so as to ensure clients and employees alike remain engaged.
The best public relations agency of the modern world will be focused on results, not time spent at a desk.
The year is already well underway and public relations professionals the world over must take their upskilling seriously.
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