Guest Post: Embracing the Next Phase

This guest post is from my Twitter friend, Kellye Crane. Kellye is one of those PRos that I always recommend students follow. She’s super smart and has good advice for PR people at all levels.

As the school year draws to a close, I’m sure many PRos in Training are thinking about the future, and pondering what Modern PR means today. Whether you’re on the job market, starting an internship, beginning a new position or just trying to keep up with the latest advancements, you’ve no doubt heard and read a great deal about the vast changes taking place in the approach to public relations.

As current students know, whether it’s called PR 2.0, New PR, or some other catchy label, it’s clear that public relations is moving into a new age. At the forefront of this evolution is PR’s incorporation of a more conversational approach to communications, made possible – and necessary – by social media.

All this change can feel a bit intimidating, but the good news is this is truly an exciting time! Those who stay abreast of the changes and adapt to the evolving climate will thrive. If you’re worried, I’m going to let you in on an open secret:

Today’s students are every bit as prepared as the more experienced PR pros to succeed in this fast-changing environment.

For most of the class of 2009, adapting to new technologies, conversing online and being authentic is second nature. Much of what my colleagues and I are trying to learn – from the social norms of texting to the unspoken rules of Facebook – is old hat to you. PR is going to look very different in the near future, and the truth is some of the experienced pros are set in their ways.

Of course, the fact that the methods of communicating have changed doesn’t alter the fundamentals of public relations we should all be practicing. This is where the PR veterans have much to teach new PR pros.

These circumstances create a unique opportunity for emerging and experienced PR pros to join forces for a perfect partnership of wisdom and new ideas. While it’s essential to give appropriate respect to your managers, at the same time you should feel comfortable to share your perspective. The best workplaces will welcome your input and – whether it’s used or not – you’ll be credited with thinking strategically.

Your fresh perspectives combined with the expertise of your senior colleagues will be a powerful alliance. Together, you’ll be unstoppable!


Kellye Crane founded Crane Communications, LLC in 1995, and has 18 years of experience in strategic public relations and marketing communications. Her blog is Solo PR Pro and you can find her on Twitter at @KellyeCrane.

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What Does the PRo of the Future Look Like?

The very ground on which we stand in public relations is shifting. Like tectonic plates colliding miles under the surface, these changes are shaking up the industry. The PRos of the future will need to have different skills and use more traditional skills in new ways. These changes are creating new opportunities for smart, creative thinkers.

John Bell at Ogilvy’s 360 Digital Influence Team offers 13 skills that will be required for PR professionals to succeed in the future. His PR Brain for 2009 looks different than the PR brain looked even seven years ago when I finished my undergrad degree.

You can read John’s post, but the point of his skills that I take away are that you have to be quick, responsive (not reactive) and creative. You also must know how to think in terms of measurement, ROI and be able to talk business.

Katie Paine offers six skills that PRos of the future need to have in a recent newsletter article. Katie offers that incoming professionals must be able to listen, create campaigns with the audience in mind and value truth and transparency. She reinforces John’s point about measurement. PR professionals must know how to measure and make decisions based on data.

They’ll make decisions based on data, not gut feelings. Yes the gut will still be a powerful tool, but in an environment that morphs faster than you can say “Utterli, Seesmic, Plurk, and Twittergrader,” the gut will be a very difficult thing to read and rely upon.

Amy Ziari, rounds out these three recent posts with insights from a (fairly) recent grad. Amy is an Oregon alum and has a very forward looking perspective about new PR grads as the future of the industry. She offers this:

I’m proposing that recent grads have such an incredible knowledge source at their fingertips. We will be the leaders in advancing our profession forward, and teaching our agencies and many of our coworkers about these changes. We will also be the ones brainstorming ways to take our profession to the next level in the future as human communications and media continue to evolve. We are a generation like no other. That can offer to our profession like no other.

I am excited for my students. It’s a new world with tremendous opportunity and they will be ready for the future.

What do you think? What skills do new PRos need to have? How is the industry changing?

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