Written by Lauren Wasley, Creative Media & PR Strategist at energi PR.
Many careers paths are chosen because they provide areas where our natural skills or interests can best be realized. If, like me, you have a knack for creative writing, a passion for presenting and a short attention span, you might end up in public relations.
As an industry, a lot has changed in the seven or so years I’ve been practicing. Surprisingly, I started at the end of the fax machine era. Coverage came in each morning, hard copies were even kept in binders and we used rulers and calculators to measure the public relations value of each clip.
These past few years it seems there is a new tool, trend, app or offering emerging every few months. Keeping track of these developments alongside the movements of Canadian editors and freelance writers is a full-time job. So, as you can imagine, staying at the top of your game is a skill in itself.
Based on the evolution of the industry, I predict the following four areas will become more critical for public relations practitioners in 2015:
- Crisis Communications: 2014 was a tough year for the airline industry with several globally-documented crashes. Although rare, these tragic incidents are a reminder that crisis can hit at the most unexpected times. Whether it’s an accident, financial loss or scandal, it is important not only to react quickly to a crisis, but to speak and act appropriately. Local news can become global in an instant and if an issue is not handled correctly, it can quickly spin out of control.
- Measurement: Although Media Relations Points (MRP) is the industry standard in Canada, many agencies have clients around the world. As global integration becomes more commonplace, different practices are often employed to develop a level of consistency and allow for countrywide comparisons. Exploring best practices that all teams can understand and use will be key.
- Socially Savvy: Most of us can handle content development for social media, but as further emphasis is put on these channels a deeper understanding is required. From both an analytics and advertising perspective.
- Paid Content: Although editorial content is still our bread and butter, as newspapers shrink due to cuts in advertising revenue, organic stories are not always an option. To maintain coverage and exposure, agencies need to seek out sponsorships, partnerships and paid content opportunities, like mattes and ANRs, for their clients.
One of the most exciting aspects of our industry is that it is in constant motion. We need to think of change as a positive evolution. The more we know, the better we can do our jobs and that’s a plus for everyone.