The Rise of Independent PR

India's best public relations college School of Communications & Reputation. SCORE is also the best media and mass communications institute to be in in india

With the world becoming connected and networked, organisations of any size and scale can attract the best talent from across the globe! Professionals too are turning to freelancing or becoming independent consultants for flexibility and opportunity to work on different projects while maintaining work-life balance.

Gone are the days when companies had to staff the workplace with full-time employees. With continuous evolution of technology, new tools and channels of communications, the way we work has also evolved and the #FutureOfWork definitely doesn’t lie in a 9-5 job in my opinion.

A 2015 study by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers showed that freelancers made up 34% of the workforce in the US. And, according to workplace experts, this is expected to cross 50% in the next decade.

The global market for freelancers across industry verticals is worth $2-3 billion, of which India accounts for $1 billion, according to Truelancer data. It’s said that the global market has been growing at 14% a year for the past few years.

The Indian PR landscape is continuously evolving and digital media, technology has paved way for innovation and creativity in our communications approach. The new age PR or Social PR world, has of course given rise to many new skills and techniques to keep pace with the evolving industry!

PR professionals with 10-20 years of experience, either at the agency side/corporate have literally been burnt out with old traditional ways of operating and clients want to focus on business goals, not just the press mentions anymore. A new, fresh talent pool is required at various levels to continuously meet client expectations.

A lot of agencies have started to outsource the work that require niche Social PR skills or get independents on board on contractual basis who can perhaps help the company save some $$ too! Of course, in the meantime, agencies are training to up skill their current employees to stay relevant in the industry and provide strategic 360 degrees communication counsel to their clients.

There is a huge gap between supply and demand of digital marketers in India. A recent article in Times of India stated that the number of active candidates present for these roles is less than half the demand!

Will it be right to say that Independent #PR is paving it’s way in the Indian market?

I believe, YES.

Soon enough in India, I foresee PR agencies/businesses getting comfortable with virtual teams which makes easier to find and hire perfect PR talent even if it is outside the geo area.

Communications is multi-disciplined art and not restricted to only media relations. Social PR folks are required to fire on multiple fronts that includes content marketing, influencer marketing, social listening, storytelling, community management, measurement and engaging with all the stakeholders that resonate with the client.

The internet changed everything for PR. We could now go directly to the consumers, which means we have to master more channels for storytelling. While PR professionals are in the process of upskilling, the ones who have mastered new technologies and channels of communications, are much in demand by the agencies. I believe, a lot of PR / Marketing agencies will start teaming up with independent PR pros to capture 360 business.

Globally, independent PR professionals like working for different agencies for various projects which help boost their learning curve as well as gives them the flexibility to work however they like and from wherever they want.

While there is a movement towards independents, it will be interesting to see the network grow when independents start hiring other independents!

There is indeed a huge opportunity for independent PR ahead. Do you agree? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

To know more about this trend, read the chat with Nicole Jordan.

– Ancita Satija 

Ancita Satija is a public relations professional based in Delhi and one of the many collaborating partners of India's best public relations college School of Communications & Reputation. SCORE is also the best media and mass communications institute to be in in india Ancita is a communications professional and works as an Account Manager at Cohn & Wolfe Six Degrees. She hosts a weekly Twitter chat (Thursdays, 9PM IST) called the #SocialPowWow which is a meeting ground on Twitter for PR, marketers, communicators and entrepreneurs to talk about topics of mutual interest and learn from each other’s experiences. She was amongst the PRmoment India’s 30 under 30 winners in 2016 and has also been ranked at #57 amongst the list of top 100 most influential individuals globally on Twitter by Onalytica. She can be reached on Twitter @ancitasatija and here on LinkedIn.​

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