The new PR pro

“What do you do for a living?” It’s a question that often comes up in conversation—around the dinner table, at networking events, or even on the sidelines of a weekend soccer game. And if you work in the PR industry, you’ll know more than anyone, that question isn’t always so easy to answer.

“Our role [as PR professionals] has greatly evolved,” says Rachel Thexton in a recentHuffington Post article entitled “PR? What’s that again?” Sure, our objectives to help connect our clients to their target audience, and help them develop content that creates positive engagement with the public haven’t changed; it’s how we do it that’s constantly in flux.

“The tools, strategies, and skill sets for the job have changed,” says Rachel, explaining that this has created a new breed: the hybrid PR professional. “While identifying news stories, writing media materials, and media relations are still important skills, the 2013 edition of the PR pro also needs to have a working knowledge of social media and other online platforms, along with the ability to create content that resonates with the online community.”

Hashtags, blog influencers, and social media platforms are game changers that can’t be ignored. They could be the difference between running a successful campaign and loosing key business.

Rachel also points out that Vancouver’s increasing diversity provides opportunities for PR pros to distinguish themselves by considering the languages and culture of their audiences. Working with team members who have the language skills to reach out to key influencers in these communities will help your messages spread even further.

With so much change in the tools we use to do our jobs, Rachel suggests focussing on bringing things back to fundamentals of our craft.

“Bring listening back to the centre of PR, versus the old school marketing mantra of pushing out messages. Online communities expect a two-way dialogue,” she says. She also suggests revisiting your storytelling skills, personalizing pitches, and spending time cultivating relationships with media and bloggers.

And lastly, don’t be boring. “The new hybrid PR professional must be more interesting, more timely, and faster than ever before to stay ahead of the ever-changing mobile media world.”

Is your role as a PR profressional changing in Vancouver?

Get more of Rachel Thexton’s take on the PR industry by following her on Twitter at @rthexton.