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  • Tag Archive: PR trends

    1. 10 Facts PR Influencers Know to Be True

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      Earlier this month, AirPR Chief Strategy Officer Rebekah Iliff joined Nasdaq for its #PRInfluencers series on Facebook Live. Hosted by Deirdre Breakenridge of Pure Performance Communications, and joined by fellow panelists Shonali Burke and Shannon Furey, the panel covered emerging PR trends including how corporate storytelling has changed in recent years and what PR professionals must learn to sustain their careers. Watch the Facebook Live event or scan the session’s top takeaways below.

      1. PR is no longer a linear process.

      In the past, PR professionals pitched the media and threw events with little proof of how PR moved the needle. Today’s PR strategies are more iterative, forming a continuous loop where outcomes are measured and insights are frequently incorporated back into the strategy.

      2. Apply critical thinking before fulfilling the “ask”.

      Fact: PR is often a fire drill. A client is launching a new product in three weeks and they want to be featured in TechCrunch. But will an article in TechCrunch really contribute to the client’s goal of 100 demo sign-ups by the end of the quarter? Maybe. But at least consider other solutions that might help you reach the same goal. Maybe running a targeted marketing campaign in tandem with PR is your best bet.

      When we step back and apply critical thinking, we’re more likely to help our companies and clients in a tangible way. There are countless critical thinking frameworks online to lead the way. 

      3. PR and marketing are converging.

      PR professionals and marketers alike are beginning to see PR attribution as a mandatory mechanism for accurate marketing measurement.In most instances, PR professionals only see about 5% of the traffic and actions their PR drives because traditional marketing attribution only tracks PR mentions when there is a link,” said Iliff. “We created technology that tracks all mentions, not just when there’s a link back to the company’s website.”

      4. The narrative is now primarily owned by the brand.

      “Based on our data, some brands are starting to see more traction with their owned media than their earned media,” said Iliff. “Technology has largely enabled this.” To take advantage of the rise of owned media, large companies must build in-house teams of digital storytellers.

      For small companies, this often takes shape as smartphone storytelling, explained Breakenridge. Every PR professional has the ability to record videos, stream live events, and create ad campaigns to promote content. In this sense, owned media makes storytelling more accessible to all whereas earned media is largely dependent upon journalist interest.

      5. Skill diversification is career insurance for today’s PR professionals.

      It pays to be a good writer if you work in PR, but having baseline knowledge of digital marketing tactics is powerful too. “Will every PR professional be versed in everything from domain authority to SEO?” said Furey, “Probably not.” But having a greater understanding of the various parts of PR that fuel the marketing funnel is a great start, she explained.

      6. Proving PR’s value lies in the quantitative.

      There’s no doubt that brand awareness has high value, but the phrase has become a bit of a catch-all for PR outcomes that haven’t been analyzed using hard data. Today, PR professionals must learn how to justify their work with both the qualitative and quantitative so they can make more strategic decisions. Start by familiarizing yourself with today’s PR technologies so you’re in the know, even if you don’t consider yourself an expert user yet.

      7. Commit to attending one conference or class a year.

      Whether it’s getting Google Analytics or Marketo certified, attending a social media conference, or taking an SEO course so you can learn how to improve the searchability of your brand’s owned media, commit to continued education. “It will set you apart from the 100 other people who only know how to write a press release,” said Iliff.

      8. For social amplification, go to your community. (Don’t make them come to you.)

      When it comes to creating a community around your niche area, it’s best to meet your customer where they hang out, not where you want them to be. “You can have a great brand narrative, but if you’re not focusing on what makes your community tick and being a part of that community, you won’t be able to form genuine customer connections,” said Burke. “Be a part of their community. Don’t just invite them to be a part of yours.”

      9. Data and technology don’t have to be scary.

      Burke, who teaches two PR courses at Johns Hopkins University, consistently encounters seasoned PR practitioners who understand how to tell stories but are afraid of the technology side of things.

      “We’re not mechanical engineers or software engineers, and we don’t need to be,” she said. “All we need to do is understand how to use the tools we have at our disposal for our work. That’s all. If we understand how to use those tools to do our jobs better, that’s what will help us grow.”

      10. PR influencers who are thought leaders themselves will rise to the top.

      The best PR professionals “walk the walk” in the sense that they understand the power of raising their own thought leadership profiles, so they can demonstrate best-case scenarios to their clients and customers: the C-suite.

      The “PR Influencer” will become a key part of the business. This person has a strong understanding of what works and doesn’t — and can explain to a room of marketers and executives how their PR efforts helped the company reach quantifiable goals in addition to brand aspirations.


      Featured Influencers

      Deirdre Breakenridge, @dbreakenridge | Pure Performance Communications

      Rebekah Iliff, @rebekahiliff | Chief Strategy Officer of AirPR

      Shonali Burke, @shonali | Shonali Burke Consulting

      Shannon Furey, @shannonmfurey | PR Director for M studio

    2. Public Relations Job Trends in Tech and Beyond

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      There’s a laundry list of myths about public relations jobs, one of which is that PR jobs are glamorous. My coworker Rachel Berk explained this well: “Sure, we attend some high-brow events, tech conferences can be thrilling, and every once in a while you may find yourself giddy with excitement if a New York Times reporter likes one of your tweets. But these are the exceptions, not everyday occurrences.”

      With this misconception of glamour comes a general misunderstanding about the industries that require PR acumen, average salaries for various PR roles, and the best states in which to pursue careers in PR. That said, here are 10 PR industry job trends, including some data sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, that might surprise you:

      1. As of 2014, public relations professionals filled roughly 240,000 jobs. That number was expected to increase by 6% by 2024, meaning it is estimated that there could be closer to 255,000 PR jobs just seven years from now.

       2. In 2015, the median annual income for a PR specialist was $56,770. The lowest 10% earned less than $31,690 and the highest 10% earned more than $110,080. The median annual income across all U.S. occupations is around $36,000, which means public relations professionals earn 40% more than the median income.

      3. PR pros in the healthcare and social assistance industries were at the low end of the salary range while professional, scientific, and more technical PR specialists were at the top. The latter makes sense given the intel required for representing industries that are more technical in nature.

       4. In no particular order, the states/districts with the most PR professionals are California, Washington D.C., Texas, Illinois, New York, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida, Virginia, Ohio, and Massachusetts.

      And although Idaho is among the states with the lowest numbers of PR professionals, the state’s median income for PR professionals is oddly in the highest bracket along with California, Washington D.C., New York state, Virginia, and Connecticut.

      5. Washington D.C. is the top-paying district for PR. In government, public relations specialists are sometimes called press secretaries and they are responsible for keeping the public informed (or perhaps uninformed) about the activities of government officials and agencies. In fact, per thousand jobs in D.C., roughly 21 are PR professionals.

      6. The industry that makes up the highest percentage of PR pros (22%) are in the religious, grant-making, civic and similar organizations. A close second, coming in at 21%, are professional, scientific, and technical services.

      7. The real PR bread and butter is in Silicon Valley, where the highest mean annual wage is $99,870. This isn’t surprising per se, just a relevant consideration for those beginning PR careers or looking to relocate for a higher income in the field.

      8. Contrary to popular belief, PR is measurable given the vast amounts of data that are now available to us. Companies such as Iris PR and Vidyard are giving PR professionals and communications experts data sets and analytics tools that help them understand which messages are resonating with customers and prospects.

      For example, at AirPR it’s all about PR attribution; we show PR professionals exactly how much site traffic results from a specific article or blog post, and how those visitors are interacting and engaging on their websites. Data-driven PR measurement to this degree of granularity is still a new concept to many PR professionals, but the industry as a whole recognizes how important it is to be able to correlate PR activities to business impact.

      9. A PRTech ecosystem has emerged alongside MarTech and AdTech. So far, there are more than 85 B2B services and platforms that help PR professionals do their jobs better, ranging from visual storytelling apps to tools for trend tracking.

      We’ve all heard the saying you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Well, you can’t budget for campaigns when you’re struggling to prove their worth either. I’m quite certain that five years from now, in-house PR teams will not only be using PRTech tools on a regular basis, but their C-Suite leaders will also require them to so there are means for proper measurement and evaluation.

      10. To be a public relations specialist, a bachelor’s degree in public relations, journalism, communications, or business is typically required. In fact, my personal opinion is that some of the best public relations professionals are those who have written or worked for publications prior to working in PR. They understand how journalists think, what is story worthy, and so forth.

      Additionally, I know many undergraduates who have opted for double majors in communications and business analytics. This is brilliant, and they will be at the top of the list for most companies looking for fresh PR candidates.

      In the end, working in PR can be as challenging as it is rewarding. As an executive of a PRTech company, I’ve witnessed the industry evolve from being perceived as somewhat cosmetic to an engine that can be as powerful as an organization’s marketing wing. PR is an essential business function and the sooner we acknowledge it, the more talent we’ll attract.


      A version of this article appeared on Forbes