I'm going to state the obvious: Our jobs are changing. The question is what exactly are they changing to? As I mentioned in my last post, for many years working in a PR agency has often meant focusing on media relations - devising campaigns and ideas to attract media attention and generate coverage.
Unless a stray, often angry, member of the public stumbled across our phone number on a Web site, we were generally “shielded” from dealing directly with consumers. We relied on customer support to handle problems, and producers and editors to take our raw material and create interesting stories for the public's consumption.
Today, with the explosion of social media, blogging, video, podcasting, and more, PR folks are coming face-to-face with the audiences we are aiming to reach more often. Now we can listen in on consumers' trials and tribulations and use those insights to entertain, inform, and engage them with the content we generate.
So what should we be doing to stay ahead?
• We need to hone our listening skills to tailor what we say and improve how we communicate. Why not use Twitter or Facebook as free focus groups?
• By listening we can become better storytellers and learn how to engage people: make them laugh, make them care, make them comment.
• We need to think visually and aurally. How can we convey an idea or a story in 30 short seconds of video or via a podcast?
At last we have the opportunity to talk directly to our publics. It's time to embrace the change and prove our value as communicators.
Alice Chan, SVP and GM, Red Consultancy