8 New areas public relations professionals must master


The emergence of the communication technologies 2.0 ten years ago transformed the communications industry and its practices. Public relations has become a field that requires knowledge and mastery of new practices to carry out their duties, both in conventional and in the digital realm.

Public relations professionals should be able to keep up to date with new research methods, develop specific policies to guide public and employee participation, experiment with content management using a variety of social media channels, and build relationships with shareholders using new technologies.

The following is a summary of eight areas that must be mastered by PR professionals now days.

1. The PR Policy Maker

You must learn that a crucial part of the communications strategy and planning process includes the development of social media policies, training, and governance.

In practice you should: Audit the state of social media or online presence of the organization, and the overall usage of social media by the employees.Assemble a social media core team to assist in policymaking. Based on audit build a document that describes usage standards for company employees. Evaluate level of knowledge of employers. Prepare seminaries, workshops, etc to bring up to speed all of the users/departments. Communicating and measuring policy compliance.

Tools: Socialmediagovernance: Site for reviewing policies and social media governance programs with more than 150 policies for review.

2. The Internal Collaboration Generator

Social media starts on the inside of the organization. As social media moves across the company, it’s imperative you work with specific departments (PR, Advertising, Marketing, HR, IT, Legal, Sales, and so on).

In practice: you should create a solid plan of internal collaboration about the vision and goals of a new communications platform (benchmark a win or series of wins, usually by showing increased usage and projects are on time and under budget).

Simple Document Sharing and Project Management: Google DocsBasecampTwiddla, Zoho Projects, and One Hub.
Collaboration and Web Presentations: VyewWebExGoToMeeting, and Skype.
Enterprise 2.0 Collaboration and Innovation: Microsoft SharePoint 2010, IBM Enterprise 2.0, Socialcast,  SocialtextYammerGrou.psNing

3. The PR Technology Tester

You must be knowledgeable of the latest social media tools, experiment with them, and keep up to date with new emerging technologies.

In practice: elaborate a cost benefit analysis to determine the best tools to include in your PR 2.0 tool kit.

Essential knowledge:

  • Social Media Monitoring and Measurement Tools
  • Website Analytics and Measurement
  • Social Media Influence Tools
  • Collaborative Social Media Platforms (SN, macromedia video, photo sharing, niche networks,etc)
  • Content Management Systems/Blog Platforms
Tools: Monitoring and measurement 
Free: Addictomaticbit.ly, Facebook Insights, HootSuiteMonitor-ThisSocial MentionTweetDeckWildfireWordleTopsyBackType, and BoardReader.
Paid: Alterian SM2BurrellesLuce Engage121CisionConverseonLithiumMeltwaterProsynaRadian6Sentiment MetricsSysomos, and Vocus.
Other free or inexpensive analytics tools: ClickyReinvigorate, and GoingUp
Good social media influence tools include CrowdboosterKloutPeerIndexTraackr, and Twitalyzer.
CMS: WordPressDrupalJoomla, and OpenText.

 4. The Communications (COMMS) Organizer

You must educate and redirect an organization to implement a new communications process. You create new types of stories by developing, coordinating, and curating content through different channels as the whole company builds stronger connections with customers:

In practice: Set up overall company monitoring and customer intelligence • Build a two-prong approach for content
• Create a more universal sharing system
• Develop a social media “share” book or playbook • Creating the social media purpose brief

5. The Pre-Crises Doctor

Proactively build crises prevention plans with comment response charts and helpful tools to identify and illustrate levels of crises escalation through all media, including new media.

The crisis strategy for social media should cover the following: One part monitoring and having the right tools in place. One part prepared communication response and knowing the appropriate company personnel who participate. One part measurement, as a company moves through the evaluation of a negative situation, benchmarking whether their communication was effective.

Free tools available that enable you to see how influential bloggers are in your industry, include:  KloutPeerIndexAlltopAd Age Power150, and Twitalyzer.
When monitoring a crisis, you may use:
Paid: Viral HeatAlterianLithium, or Radian6
Free: SocialMentionTopsy, and Google Alerts.

6. The Reputation Analyzer

You should observe and analyze how audiences connect with their favorite brands and with their peers in web communities. Skills include visualizing and mapping the connections for better strategic engagement and higher-level interactions.

In practice:

  • Develop an audience profile: study, research elaborate plant to approach groups.
  • Define technology to analyze direction/growth
  • Set a strategy to build relationships based on community culture.
Quantcast great to see how different groups participate on specific in social network.
MentionMapp help you visualize your Twitter relationships
Other tools to analyze relationships in social communities include TweetStatsTweetReachWhoTweetedMeTweet ArchivistTwenty FeetTwiangulateFacebook Insights, and Touch Graph which allows you to not only see your close Facebook connections, but also visualize connections between related websites.

7. The Reputation Task Force Member

You must teach about core values and brand voice. This department must turn on their tracking/monitoring to high speed to respond with immediacy, constant accuracy, and transparency.

This a practice based upon the increased need to:

  • Be more proactive with brand reputation.
  • Provide internal education about brand value and voice.
  • Build a team of relentless sentiment auditors.

This task is broken into a few areas, which include the following:

  • Building the human face: creating empathy through human interaction
  • Helping stakeholders to understand the brand’s core values
  • Learning the best ways to monitor and measure sentiment
  • Growing the reputation task force team
Tools: Free tools Google AlertsSocial MentionTweetDeck, and HootSuite.

 8. The Master of Metrics

You should know how to differentiate between social media business outcomes versus the outtakes and outputs. Measurement has always been a challenging area, and your level of accountability is even higher with respect to social media communications.

Is fundamentally important, goals should be as quantitative as possible and address who, what, when, and how much impact is expected from a public relations campaign.  PR outcomes = Quantifiable changes in attitude or behavior, versus outputs (the tangible elements in your campaign) and the outtakes (key messages that you want your audiences to take away)

In practice: Break the practice into three areas:

1. Understanding social media ROI for executives 2. Discovering a six-step metrics process for programs across the company 3. Determining the difference between inform, inspire, and engage Metrics

Tools: Microsoft Excel, Google Analytics, the latter’s URL Builder tool, Bit.ly or Ow.ly


Bibliography: Breakenridge, Deirdre K. (2012) Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional. FT press.



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