By Theresa Wallenhorst, Sweeney
Yesterday, I attended my first PRSA event of the year: I Don’t Do PR Anymore. To no surprise, this immediately struck my interest. While I may just be a mere three years into my career, even I have noticed a growing change in today’s public relations industry. But the truth is, as the panel would agree, the nature of PR really is just brand reputation. And the need to build a strong brand reputation is something that never has – and never will – change. Rather, it’s the way that PR is portrayed, displayed and communicated that has changed.
The panel consisted of a strong suite of diverse professionals, from corporate experts like GE’s Director of Communications Alicia Gauer to seasoned pros like Goldstein Group Communications’ very own president Joel Goldstein, to up and coming fresh personalities like VP of Services Jessica Miller from PR 20/20 – all of which offered unique ideas and providing thought-provoking insight as to how our industry has changed, and not necessarily for the worst.
There was a common theme referred to throughout the discussion: digital. Let’s face it. We’re just a bunch of digital guys and gals living in a digital world. But that isn’t to say we are doomed as PR professionals. Realistically, we will continue to adapt to the times and utilize our digital assets to continue building a strong brand reputation. As Alicia said, PR used to be all press – AKA publicity and media relations. But now in a growing digital age, we’re faced with other options. Joel stated that 80-90 percent of content is now digital, even referring to back in the day when he would dread breaking the news to clients that their content was “only going to run online”. Today, most publications only offer online editions. But no fear, because PR isn’t dead, and with growing digital trends and increasing amounts of communication channels, we have to be even more aware of it. Alicia admitted that PR now has a bigger seat at the table. Gone are the days PR professionals are dismissed and overlooked by marketing teams. Now, PR pros are some of the first to have a hand in big business meetings and decisions.
While the landscape of public relations as a whole is growing vastly and quickly, we can use this to our advantage to get ahead of the ball: simply have an appetite to learn. As Jessica said – research, investigate and find something you’re interested in and continue with it. Use your spare time to learn a new platform. Get certified in a new program. Research thoroughly. And above all else, stay curious.