Saturday, March 3, 2012

PR Practitioner Extraordinaire?

It is now accepted that social media has changed the way individuals relate to each other as well as the way organizations can communicate with their publics. Information can be shared across the globe within seconds and it’s not uncommon for people to get impatient or even agitated when information isn’t quickly forthcoming.

This puts pressure on public relations practitioners to distribute accurate information in a very short space of time. If they don’t, rumours and biased stories can spread like wildfire via twitter, facebook and instant messaging applications.

But let’s be fair. The buck very often does not stop at the PR official. They usually have to wait for someone higher up the corporate latter to first recognize or agree that information need to be shared. Even when this is accomplished, getting a CEO to handover this information in a timely manner can be another challenge. Then there’s the issue of making it available in multiple formats so all relevant consumers can be reached.

Top official buy-in was a challenge even when “timely” meant in time for the next day’s newspaper publication. Now that almost instant communication is demanded, the need for PR practitioners to be included in the dominant coalition has never been more clear. This would speed up the time in which information can be prepared and distributed.

The uploading of information online may also require practitioners to be skillful at various technological applications. Consumers don’t necessarily want to read drawn out press releases. They may prefer a podcast or a video; maybe even a real-time chat with a company representative. It is for this reason that Key suggests that suggests the need for a new kind of PR agency which brings together the best minds from traditional PR sectors, content development, technology and others.

Are PR organizations moving towards diversifying their staff complement? Or are traditional practitioners being asked to perform new roles for which they may be under-prepared?

1 comment:

  1. One can start arguing about the role of a PR practitioner as a manager or technician and can take up a whole paper doing this. I do believe that convergent media has changed these roles and also changed the job description done by a PR practitioner.
    Then again, one can never stop noticing that every company has a different meaning and job description for a PR practitioner as well as a different level of hierarchy within the organisation.
    As for the topic of time, I do agree with you and that more research should be done about this. It would be interesting to see how fast one is expected to react even if not a crisis issue is involved.