Tag Archives: PR careers

Is PR merging with marketing?

There has been an inkling of a trend towards PR jobs taking on more marketing communications responsibilities.

I cannot say it was more than a feeling.

But I came across this article in PR Week from October 2012 that seemed to crystallise those thoughts a little more.

For B2B clients the recession has concentrated minds even more on ROI although it was always important.

PR can generate valuable SEO content, links, downloads, branding, Google profile and leads of course.

However the perception is often that PR is a branding exercise alone although this is outdated thinking.

B2B companies that are not of a more substantial size need their marketing needs dealt with as much as their reputation management.

I am helping implement a new website and often help with social media and copy and occasionally marketing strategy – a much misunderstood and vital skill for PR professionals and everyone else.

Those skills that I had left behind and thoughts peripheral now are proving useful again.

So the PR Week article pointing to a merging of roles and more marketing responsibilities being placed on PR professionals is no surprise.

Is it the way things are going?

Perhaps PR professionals want to be marketing heads and not a subset of marketing.

Will PR professionals have to be marketers as well however much they want to remain pure PR practitioners?  They might have no choice.

PR careers advice for professionals – a few thoughts

I thought I would write down my take on advice for a career in PR that I wish I had received when I started.

I’m not heading up communications for Coca Cola, which is lucky because I don’t intend to, and I don’t always practice what I preach either.

However I think some points will hit a chord.

I wish I had someone whisper it to me when I was at school, and college and after leaving college although I am sure that this thinking would not have been common back then.  I cannot say that I would have listened.

I don’t altogether like the 10 tips evangelists and gurus.  Sometimes they seem a little glib.  However, if you bear with me then I think I have a point and would like feedback.

A little foresight is a wonderful thing

If knowledge and experience was given early on it would make life much easier, but it is rarely the case for most of us.

“Life’s tragedy is that we get old to soon and wise too late.” Benjamin Franklin

Anyway, I am making my Spanish learning comeback and the process of learning a foreign language is actually a useful mirror for reflecting on many (not all) aspects of PR careers.

My PR tips

These are my thoughts in staying afloat / building / continuing / soaring in a PR or marketing career (as currently influenced by learning Spanish):

Enjoy it – If you don’t enjoy it then it is going to be hard work.  So enjoy it or pick something else.

Skills – Like grammar, you need the framework and in this sense IT skills are key.  I don’t mean MS Office (as important as it is as this should be standard); I mean skills that differentiate you and help you function more effectively.  Hence I am going to improve my WordPress skills in the near future.

It goes without saying that good English is crucial.

Languages – Will Spanish or German, or if you have 4 years or so to learn Mandarin, help?  It could.  However many PR professionals cannot express themselves in more than English.  (I have seen a recent release that put that minimal assumption to the test).

Languages  are worth doing for many reasons that do not include career motives.  Yes, it might really help although I know plenty of successful people in PR and marketing that are not multilingual.

Reading – I read a piece by a PR professional where he recounted asking what interviewees would reply to the question: “What are you reading?”

Most would say something to show their utter dedication to PR along these lines: “I am too busy to read, I am so committed to my job!”

This immediately lost them any chance of progress to the next round.  You should read widely and be insatiably curious.

Sector knowledge – I think PR professionals that have in-depth sector knowledge can have a huge advantage.

If you can combine bio-science with communications, you will be in demand.

If you are less technical then industry knowledge is also important, say legal sector.  Make a niche your own if you can.

Specialise – Following on from the above, if someone is an expert in professional services, brilliant, and if he or she is an expert in financial PR than that could be better still if you can combine the PR skills with the sector knowledge.

%

PR and marketing roles are merging – part of a new trend?

PR Week has an interesting piece about the move from PR into broader marketing roles.

With particular reference to in-house, it says that high level PR roles are much reduced when compared to last year (40% reduction for Q3 year on year).

This is in part recession, in part possibly a change of business culture and the skills that PR professional can bring to broader amrekting roles.  Click on the above link to get a fuller picture.

Simon Sproule, Corporate vice-president, global marketing comms, Nissan make an interesting point that is worth pointing out:

“Many comms challenges no longer fit neatly into either a marketing or PR category. Every time we approach a product launch, comms should be approaching it with a 360- degree integrated approach and communal budget, rather than thinking which area [marketing or PR] needs it most.”

Could it be that PR and marketing roles are merging and that public relations professionals are aspiring to the Chief Marketing Officer roles?

Stats are still unconvincing but perhaps PR Week is onto something.

Go South if you are in PR – the PR jobs divide still remains

PR jobs
The PR jobs divide between the North and South is still strong and is likely to remain so

If you take a look at PR jobs listings in the UK you could be forgiven for thinking that if you want the best chance of reaching your career potential in the industry you have to be in the South East.

This is not to say that high quality PR professionals cannot be found north of the Watford Gap. And indeed, the public relations offering from provincial PR agencies can often be of better standard and value than simply selecting the default London or home counties PR option.

Take a look at the roles in PR Week, on the Chartered Institute of Public Relations website or an other jobsite and it is hard not to take away the impression that the quality and quantity of South East PR jobs opportunities exceeds those of the rest of the UK combined.

While some will say this is not an earth shattering discovery, the question is for those not wishing to take the PR shilling and venture south, can they have as fulfilling career (in general) as those pursuing their goals in the South East?

Please note the for tech PR and especially financial PR the industry is so embedded in the capital (and surrounding counties) as to make it hard not to spend some time learning and practicing those particular PR jobs there although it is not all impossible.

Will a London or home counties based PR during their careers outperform their northern counterparts simply because the centre of so many sectors still is centred in the same region, despite small shifts of power such as Media City coming north to Manchester?