Over the past ten years the world of Public Relations has changed dramatically. With the rise of the internet and unexpected impact of social media, no one anticipated how today’s PR efforts are handled. With that in mind, how will the industry change in the next ten years? Losing Control

The internet gives the masses a great deal of power. Yelp alone demonstrates how trusted and powerful the word of mouth is: one horrendous Yelp review can cancel out 100 positive ones. Consumers are able to communicate so effortlessly with one another that it is becoming increasingly difficult for firms to exercise damage control when a scandal arises. As digital communication continues to rise, companies will need to change to address these influential channels.

Data Driven

To adjust to the new digital age of PR, companies are going become increasingly reliant on data and adjust their campaigns accordingly. Data gives firms crucial insights on how to address and connect with their current and potential consumers. In the past, PR strategies would rely on hunches or entail failed campaigns that initially seemed brilliant. With this unprecedented amount of data now available,  data that firms can collect, it is crucial firms learn how to hone this information and use it to their advantage.

The Job Description

A changing industry also means a change the desired skillset of a potential PR hire. The ideal PR pro is no longer an outgoing worker who can get positive press in newspapers; employers need people who have capabilities in everything from content writing to search engine optimization to client services. Still, is it realistic of companies to expect a high level of competency for all of these skills in every potential hire?

Freelancing, already on the rise, is expected to become more popular as companies choose to hire specific people with specialized skills to accommodate particular needs. For example, if a company needs regular content to their blog, they will elect to hire a writer for ten hours a week rather than bring on a full-time employee, especially if that employee is great at writing, but shaky on WordPress coding.

  1. There will, of course, be full-time PR employees. However, PR firms and positions will need to adapt in order to offer career paths with multiple trajectory options. Currently, most PR pros start as interns or assistant account executives to gain the necessary skills to transition from client services to management. However, with the rise of specializations like social media and digital marketing, PR firms will need to icreate positions with different specialties in order to accommodate an employee’s specific skillset to benefit both the firm and the client. Future career paths could include specialties in: Data analysis
  2. Creative
  3. Management
  4. Copywriting (investigative journalism, content creations, etc.)

Not only will this benefit the company’s productivity and client results, but it would also allow employees to further develop skills in areas they have a natural proclivity. By feeling satisfied with their work, employees will not only be happier, but also be better workers.

Going Virtual

The number of people working from home is on the rise, and many PR firms allow employees to work from home one or two days a week. With the incorporation of Skype and email to aid daily communication, a central workplace is getting less vital with each new platform and application developed. There are also some additional benefits to allowing employees to work from home.

  1. The company saves on costs such as building expenses and utilities.
  2. Workers who are able to create a work schedule in a location convenient to them tend to be happier and more productive, thus giving companies better, employees

The average commute in America clocks in at 35 minutes. By eliminating commutes, an employee is able to achieve a healthier work-life balance. Whether employees use that extra time to knock out some work, exericise, or sleep in, having a better balance between work and life demands increases satisfaction and productivity, benefiting both the employee and the employer.

With telecommuting policies already in place at many companies, several may elect to go completely virtual over the next ten years. Whether PR firms go virtual or not, the most important thing is that it shows the willingness to change and adapt to the current times.

In Conclusion

As Public Relations becomes more reliant on digital communication, the impact will undoubtedly be seen across the industry ranging from job descriptions to PR campaigns to agency structure. How do you anticipate PR changing over the next ten years?