CIPR’s ‘State of the Profession’ survey highlights the expanding skill set required by PR profession

In the CIPR’s recently published ‘State of the Profession’ survey, one in three respondents said that the biggest challenge facing public relations in the next five years will be the expanding skill set required of professionals. And whereas I am probably within the 16% of those that are ‘very satisfied’ that I am developing the skills and knowledge required to deal with these changes, I don’t deny it’s a stretching demand.

Catherine Caplis - Joint MD

Catherine Caplis26.02.2014

Over the last few years it’s fair to say that the remit of our construction PR team has expanded significantly. As per 60% of respondents in the CIPR survey, the management of social and digital media it now an integral part of our service – and for us, this extends beyond written content to include storyboarding and directing video content and running promotional campaigns across Twitter and Facebook, to optimise the reach of key messages.

The team now needs to think in pictures, rather than just words – devising infographics alongside press releases and case studies. They have to think multi-platform in everything that they do. Our competition for Alpha Innovation in conjunction with PHPI magazine is a great example of this – with ‘Be Smart with Alpha’ running across the magazine, on-line and via social media channels.

Fundamentally though –the core skillset remains the same. As we become ‘content creators’ rather than PROs, being able to craft engaging copy, whether that be a feature, a script, a Tweet or a blog, will remain a valuable talent - and having the skill to effectively adapt content depending on the channel will come naturally to many.

In my mind, the much greater challenge will be effectively juggling the disparate demands of what seems to be a rapidly increasing number of channels. There is a risk that as we strive to achieve ‘presence’ across every available medium – with a budget that is unlikely to increase - activity is spread too thinly. As a strategist, my greatest challenge therefore is developing valuable insight into this ‘moveable feast’ that will inform planning and deliver results for clients. Thankfully, I am in a somewhat privileged position in that CIB has a client base that is open to new ideas and happy to take risks – and it is this in particular that has enabled me to challenge my team and continually develop their skills.

Further details on the CIPR ‘State of the Nation’ survey can be found here.

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