The Changing Face of PR? Indeed.

I read an interesting article in Recruitment International Magazine this week, entitled ‘The Changing Face of PR’, its opening sentence boldly stated, “PR may be at the cusp of its evolution.”

Why? Well, the ‘digital boom’ according to the article’s author Davina Forbes, of Major Players – a Randstad owned PR and comms jobs recruitment company.

With the greatest respect to Forbes, I have to disagree with the majority of what she writes. I read, with some incredulity, “The digital boom, the birth of the media hub and the fall of the journalist may have sparked the beginnings of a new trend within the industry that could inevitably lead to a new focus for PR jobs – content.” A ‘new trend’?! Hasn’t PR always been about good content? And I’m not so sure this ‘digital boom’ is at the ‘beginning’ of its evolution, having been in full flow for a good couple of years now.

Sure, it’s been a learning curve, but the majority of PR practitioners and students I know, already work exceptionally well within the ‘new’ digital rules of PR engagement. Most are also clued up with social and digital media; having your own Twitter account and blog is a matter of course for most practitioners, and in general, these outlets are managed very well.

Talk to, or listen to, the vast majority of PR practitioners, both old and new, and they have a thorough understanding of digital/new media/social media communications. According to Forbes, “…the PR talent has the capability, perhaps it’s just a case of brushing up, particularly for those new to the industry.” This is an unfairly inaccurate representation of the skills of new entrants to the industry; especially in light of the large number of well trained and educated PR students and graduates. Many universities offer PR modules dedicated to social media and digital communication; producing industry entrants who are amongst the best practitioners of communications in a digital world.

The reasons for this are two-fold; firstly, young PR students and graduates have grown up through an age of digital communication, and are used to communicating and being communicated to across a digital medium. Secondly the overwhelming move towards teaching, training and guidance from experienced practitioners at countless numbers of university courses, traineeships and internships has consolidated this knowledge in practice.

I’m not just painting a rosy picture of the PR industry; of course there are still practitioners who stick by their traditional methods. And while traditional methods still have a key role in PR, the dinosaurs are dying out. In general, the PR industry is doing a good job of moving with the times.

It is quite astounding to read this statement, “…content generation is becoming an increasingly important skill to possess for the PR…” Content generation has always been a key skill, whatever the media outlet – print, digital, oral, visual; and PRs have always had to be good at it. As a self proclaimed ‘leading’ PR recruiter, the relatively negative view Forbes presents of the industry and its practitioners seems worryingly out of touch.

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About michelleallison
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2 Responses to The Changing Face of PR? Indeed.

  1. Team Burns says:

    Good stuff!

    I’ve got to agree, Michelle, the people writing that article are certainly “late to the party,” so to speak!

    I’m not just painting a rosy picture of the PR industry; of course there are still practitioners who stick by their traditional methods. And while traditional methods still have a key role in PR, the dinosaurs are dying out.

    I believe that this is the crux of your argument; the writers of Recruitment International Magazine seem to have be having sudden realizations that PR can’t stay the same forever… Gosh, who knew?? (Yes, I’m a little snarky today, haha). But I’ll be honest, you’re absolutely right! I think they want PR people to wait until they say it’s okay to “get with the times.”

    Sorry, but I (and it looks like you as well) can’t wait that long.

    Spot-on commentary from you, Michelle.

  2. Ha, I quite enjoyed that bit of snarking! You know what’s scary about the author of this article, is that she is a recruiter specifically for PROs and communicators, yet is totally off the mark!

    Thanks for your comment, ‘late to the party’ is exactly the right phrase – at least we are moving with the times though!

    Michelle

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