The public relations business has ducked and dived, some say it was known as a dark art, but thanks to the CIPR, it’s now on a serious course to professionalism. It’s practitioners like me that want to be able to be called a professional and call the PR business a profession – and I’m not alone! We need to improve the understanding and value of PR to our employers and clients so PR has a trusted and respected place in the boardroom.
Interestingly at the CIPR Scotland AGM earlier this week, Rob Brown (@robbrown), the CIPR’s President Elect, gave a presentation on ‘Digital PR is dead’. That got a few heads spinning! My interpretation of the title was that there is no such thing as ‘digital PR’ as digital is part and parcel of the PR role. Maybe 5 or 6 years ago when people hadn’t quite caught on to PRs using digital to engage audiences, but now, PR people should know better. The consistency of the language we all use makes a huge difference to the perceptions and indeed reputation of the ‘PR business’. See what I did there?!
So, as a Board member of the CIPR, a Fellow and an Accredited Practitioner, I challenge people who say they are ‘PR practitioners’ to really look at themselves – do you know your own ‘profession’s’ landscape? How can you devise strategies and give advice if you don’t know about social media, SEO, content creation and how integrated campaigns work? Don’t hold your team back by making them focus on media relations alone and certainly don’t hold the profession back from being as great as it can be. Don’t be scared to learn from practitioners that are doing it well – don’t let your ego get in the way! (That last comment came from a conversation I had with Dave from Zude (@zudepr) last week- we both reckon there are ‘traditional’ practitioners who are happy to make money from advising on media relations, not up-skill to keep up-to-date with the profession, but as they do this, they’re not helping the perceptions of what the PR business actually is. If they put their egos away, there are plenty of ways in which they could learn and up-skill, perhaps on a one-to-one basis, so they don’t feel embarrassed.)
I agree with the new look of agency models – everyone has their own area of work, but it’s a flat structure, one that allows collaboration and cross-over and effectively, achieving much better results. The old fashioned and indeed at times snooty hierarchical structure doesn’t let anyone flourish and doesn’t encourage any sort of collaboration.
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Blog post by Laura Sutherland @laurafromaura