By Brittanie Chludzinski
The future of public relations will be complex, strategic and challenging. By the year 2020, only 27 percent of agency leaders believe the term “public relations” will adequately describe the work of a professional in this industry.
This insight comes from 460 PR professionals who participated in the annual Global Communications Report. Conducted by the University of Southern California’s Center for Public Relations, the report outlines anticipated growth and trends to help current and future PR pros prepare for the changes ahead.
So what does this mean for current Hubbell members?
As the 2016-17 firm director, I’m excited to update our firm goals based on these findings and create an experience that will best prepare members to meet these future trends with confidence and expertise. I am incredibly honored to be taking on this role, and I hope that as a team, we can continue producing quality work while challenging and preparing ourselves for a successful transition into this dynamic and evolving industry.
At this year’s PRSSA National Conference, I had the opportunity to hear from Fred Cook, director of the USC Center for Public Relations and CEO of Golin. While presenting these findings and putting them into context, he added that, “Your experiences become your credentials.”
As an agency that prides itself on helping PR students gain real-world experience, I think all Hubbell members will benefit from keeping this philosophy in mind. Based on Mr. Cook’s unique perspective and the following key findings from the USC report, I hope to create a well-rounded Hubbell experience for all of our members:
Content creation and social media will drive future growth for both agencies and in-house:
We’re lucky to have clients who give us a significant amount of freedom in creating content and making decisions to meet their communication goals. This future demand is great news for Hubbell members who are challenging themselves creatively and building their portfolios to impress future employers.
Moving forward, I hope to introduce more diverse projects for all three teams, allowing members to create both traditional and social content tailored to their specific skills and interests. For the media relations team, this means writing more blog posts to be published; for the social and digital team, this means experimenting with video production and podcasts; for the strategy team, this means executing long-term campaigns and pushing the boundaries on traditional design.
Improved measurement and evaluation ranked third on a list of 18 potential drivers of growth:
Measuring results and demonstrating value to clients is a fundamental aspect of public relations. The idea that PR pros don’t need math skills is a myth, so get rid of that mentality right away! Although our PR classes don’t focus on reporting and measuring results in great detail, it’s an incredibly important part of a professional’s job.
This year in Hubbell, our media relations team has already implemented a placement report to help track media hits for our clients. Each account coordinator will also be creating a monthly activity report for his or her assigned client to ensure that everyone is held accountable for their work. Not only will this improve our relationships with clients, but Hubbell members who draft and contribute to these reports will gain a competitive edge by demonstrating this knowledge to future employers.
Writing is the most valuable skill for today’s PR professionals, according to 89 percent of participants in this study. This exceeds the value of strategic planning, analytics and SEO:
“Be a good writer.” It’s the one sentence that all PR students love and hate to hear. When asking current PR pros what skills we need to strengthen as college students, we’re generally looking for something beyond this traditional answer. But the PR experts have spoken and writing still trumps the rest. Writing creatively and concisely for a specific audience remains the foundation of a successful communicator in today’s industry.
Moving forward as a team
Whether you’re passionate about media relations or graphic design, the role of a PR professional intersects various practices within an all-service agency. In a future position, you’re guaranteed to touch both digital and traditional content, so it’s in your best interest to be a well-rounded professional.
When all is said and done, I truly hope that Hubbell will be a valuable experience in helping you prepare for your future career. Here’s to a successful year!