The ever expanding PR toolbox

November 20, 2013
Andy Francis

Every day 2 or 3 CVs drop into my inbox – from the recently graduated to the seasoned professional.

My filtration process is increasingly honed. I can now scan read, looking for key phrases, words, that standout moment. Pretty much in the same way a journalist scans a ‘press release’ – you have nine seconds to impress.

When I started in ‘PR’ 20 years ago, you had to know how to write press releases, brief photographers, run small events and conduct media relations.

Ok, that’s a little factually crude, but today – and this is the point – you have to know how to craft a storyboard for a video, brief a producer, identify influencers, engage bloggers, write blogs, create SEO content, run experiential – not just events, undertake insight research, develop strategic plans, identify brand partners, listen, post and measure social ‘buzz’…oh and do ‘channel’ relations.

[I coin the phrase ‘channel relations’ as an umbrella term for media relations, online or off.]

Because we tell stories, while our marketing colleagues sell them, we need an ever-increasing circle of skills to do our job. The way we all consume information, learn, share and engage keeps splitting like a Matryoshka doll so, in the same way, our skills have to grow, match and mirror the audience.

A graduate who runs a blog will get my attention. The seasoned professional who has conceived, produced and delivered a piece of branded content, with measured KPIs, will get my attention.

Admittedly, we are all hamstrung in our careers by the clients will – and budgets – to go beyond the core foundations of the communication business. That’s why movement is sometimes inevitable, although one should never be afraid to get involved – e.g. running a ‘subject’ blog or twitter handle – on a personal level to demonstrate understanding.

We’re always learning, expanding our experience. I’m no longer a ‘PR man’. I’m a story-teller who looks to use an ever-increasing arsenal of tools, channels and partners, knitting them together with a flash of creativity and inspiration.

Even the most ‘inexperienced’ can demonstrate the same, if they have the desire and will.

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