I was having a discussion with my friend on a general ‘Formula for Success’ which is applicable in any profession/industry (including communications) and his answer that made me think was- ‘Learn the hottest skill on the market, and success will come automatically’.
I then began to think about this statement in terms of PR and asked myself how many times we as PR professionals make the effort to acquire skills that are most up-to-date in the market. All of us know that a good PR professional has certain basic qualities like being a strong communicator, a relationship builder, a good writer, well informed, creative, detail oriented and so on. But how many of us go out there and make the effort of acquiring a new talent?
Public Relations is a fast evolving profession. The practices that we used to follow five years ago or even three years ago in some cases may not be applicable today. For example communications is no longer just limited to media relations. There are many other aspects to a campaign like online integration, social media activation, influencer outreach among others. If a PR plan does not reflect these elements then it is essentially incomplete. Although most professionals today factor in the basic digital pieces while preparing their communications strategy, very few apply it effectively and productively due to the lack of specialised skills. Most professionals may know how to design a social media campaign and promote it on various platforms but very few actually have specialised skills like search marketing,web development, digital data gathering etc. which makes a professional stand-out from the crowd.
Data Analytics is another skill that is very important to become a great professional in the business, but is not commonly found among communications professionals. It further breaks down into topics like customer segmentation analytics, measuring campaign success, having knowledge of statistical tools etc. which are crucial. A large number of strategists know the above skills to some extent but not many are experts in the area. Being an expert at this helps us to not only evaluate our efforts better but also helps us to have a fair idea about the results even before the implementation of an idea.
A lot of us may think that a demanding client doesn’t leave us with time to invest in our own growth. But I feel being committed to one’s own success is the only way through which we can climb up the ladder and become a great professional. It is important for us to understand what is the ‘value add’ we are offering to our clients through our work and in the process we create ‘fabulous’ communications consultants out of ourselves.
Radhika is the Corporate Communications Advisor at Dell’s Performance Analytics Group. She started her career in 2011, with one of the leading PR firms of India — MSLGROUP, specialising in technology brands. The campaigns executed by her while at MSL, have won several PR industry awards including SABRE and PR Week Asia. In her last role, she was the founding team member and the marketing communications manager at SCoRe. Radhika is an English graduate and holds a Master’s degree in Mass Communication. She loves reading and is passionate about gender equality, food and Bollywood. She can be reached at @RadhikaNandwani on Twitter and here on LinkedIn
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