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.