Some people seem to imagine that public relations (PR) is glamorous and easy. They have no idea that PR is hard work, and often, many would move on to other things after some time. So why would people still work in PR?
Some of us have been PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) members for many years. PRSA is a great resource, and one of the regular publications we receive is TACTICS, which is an easy-to-read format with lots of succinct articles of the latest trends in PR.
In the July 2012 issue of TACTICS, Indra Gardiner wrote on the changing agency landscape, and her insights echoed what I thought as our own firm evolved from the early 1990s to today.
In the heydays of “high-tech PR”, where we simply served technology clients communicating news and information to technology media, it was a period of exuberence. I recalled fondly many friends I made in the tech media, and eventually even started a editorial and research bureau, serving tech media with research, contributed articles, and even dabbled in TV and radio journalism. It was great fun, even if it wasn’t the most profitable field. I thoroughly enjoyed that part of my journey.
Then the dotcom era collapsed, and with it, many tech media folded as well, and many of my friends in tech journalism scattered to join other companies or fields. It was a time of consolidation, and I returned to working in this firm, helping out with editorial, technology and training consulting again. It wasn’t bad, but certainly required a lot of hard work all over again.
With every passing year, we began to notice that PR as a field that was traditionally pegged to mere media relations by many clients (and many clients still think PR is just media relations), begins to widen and deepen. PR today not only involves media relations, but very much provide holistic communication to all levels of stakeholders of a client company, including that of the fast-growing social media and mobile apps arena.
Can we, as PR practitioners, stand still and remain in the yesteryears, with the skills and experience of yesteryears? Definitely not!
We as a firm had to evolve, quickly and aggressively, to nurture new skills and knowledge, stretching from social media to mobile app development. We continued to grow our expertise in our traditional offerings of human capital development, offering internal communication (training and development), as well as helping clients understand and develop their people better, which in turn, can translate to better customer service to end-users, and better communication to all external stakeholders including the media such as print, broadcast, and online.
We have worked harder, even longer hours, learned like never before, and never felt more exhausted at times. But yet, while we comprehend the necessity of all these, we also recognize that there is an exhilaration that comes with equipping ourselves to be ready for the new world – one that changes by the minute.
We live in exciting times that make incredible demands on us as PR practitioners. Are you – ready?
Dr Seamus Phan is the Head of Content and CTO at McGallen & Bolden. He is an expert in branding, marketing, communication, leadership training, crisis management, and entrepreneurship. This article may appear concurrently on his blog. Connect on LinkedIn. ©1984-2018 Seamus Phan et al. All rights reserved.