When I go to visit my dentist, I faithfully expect that she knows everything there is to know about teeth, gums, and tongues. When it comes to dental expertise she is the master of her domain and the only person I will go see when I need a filling. Many professions are governed exactly the same way—the professional is required to become an expert solely in her body of work. When working in public relations, we are required to become experts in our body of work, and the body of work of the firms we’re representing.
We already know that our skill set must be sharpened when it comes to writing, pitching and general communications. But there are hidden areas of expertise that seasoned PR pros are expected to master in order to become highly effective.
These hidden areas of expertise are uncovered every time we gain a new client or new project, which is always an exciting moment. Because we are taking on responsibility for our clients’ brand recognition, we are understandably expected to know what we’re talking about.
For example, if we are representing the publicity needs of my dentist, we will definitely be required to know why sedation dentistry (what’s that?!) is newsworthy and how her practice is connected. Simply put, in order for us to be effective, we have to speak the languages that our clients speak. The nature of agency life requires us to be eternally equipped with background information that is relatable to our clients’ value propositions. Becoming adept to deepening several knowledge pools at once takes research, dedication, and trend monitoring. By working in PR, our brains are figuratively split in half. One half is dedicated to being nimble communicators and the other half is designed to process material from legal, financial, healthcare, and/or technology firms.
This is why I believe working in PR makes us versatile, smart, and mentally agile. How else could we uphold our obligation if we didn’t do the following:
1. PR Pros MUST act as ambassadors: Our clients trust us to act as ambassadors for their larger, strategic goals. If we can’t understand who their potential “buyers” are and how to appeal to them, then we can’t do our job. In order to be effective we are often called upon to step-in to create larger marketing plans designed to attract new business for our clients.
2. PR Pros MUST stay abreast of relevant material: College professors typically don’t tell PR students that continuous learning is part of the job. Can you hear me screaming: “Research!” How can we complete task #1 if we don’t have solid, factual, information to rely on? In order for us to put the larger conceptual goals of our clients in the context of the marketplace, we need to stay current on industry trends and breaking news. The only way to do this is to research topics and trends on a regular basis and dive head-first into the material.
3. PR Pros MUST ask the right questions: Another large part of our job is to make sure that our clients’ stories are told through influential channels that reach their target audiences. When we take the time to interview our clients, as reporters do, we learn more about their businesses and the newsworthiness of their stories. We are then able to appeal to publishers and producers and explain why our clients are bigger, and better than their competitors.
Public relations is a dynamic field that evolves on a monthly basis. It’s not an easy gig, but I will tell you one thing— it continuously encourages character growth and personal victories. Simply put, by working in PR, I am a better (and more knowledgeable) person.
originally posted on: http://ebbenzallgroup.wordpress.com/