Since the great recession started in 2009, you have been “doing more with less”. It does not matter if you specialize in entertainment, political, non-profit, government, or corporate public relations, your role as the organization’s connection to the public will continue to grow in 2015. The question is: Is this good or bad news?
The answer, however, will depend on several factors such as your current skills; desire to evolve with the profession, and most importantly, where you work. Here is an overview of what is in store for you as a PR specialist in 2015.
Like most PR specialists, you have closely followed the annual predictions and trends for your ever-changing profession. The good news is that there are no signs of slowing down for your multifaceted, multi-tasked and multi-dimensional career in 2015. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for PR specialists will increase by 12 percent between 2012 and 2022 with over 27,000 jobs eventually being added to the labor force. However, most industry insiders say that the traditional PR function will continue to change in 2015.
“With the onset of social infrastructure such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest, combined with the versatility of Web tools, the jobs of public relations specialists are growing at a fast clip,” Gerard Corbett, one of the chairs of the Public Relations Society of America, told U.S. News & World Report.
But according to the Vocus’ guide, “The State of Public Relations in 2014,” only half of traditional PR specialists had even tried to incorporate any new digital strategies into their promotional mix, including content marketing (53 percent), search engine marketing (49 percent); or had developed a mobile engagement strategy (34 percent) last year. In 2015, the way that you represent your organization and engage with the public will be transformed by the latest technologies in content and digital marketing. The bad news is that your success in 2015 and beyond will depend on your ability to evolve with the profession.
The Jack of all Trades
There is no doubt that the role of PR is changing rapidly, and the lines between it and digital marketing will continue to blur in 2015. Many of today’s successful PR specialists have been able to leverage their traditional PR experience into new content and digital marketing skills. The result: splashy new titles such as social media specialist, digital communications strategist or social community manager.
But the one thing that will remain the same for most PR specialists are the challenges associated with the lack of company resources and budgets available to more effectively and efficiently do the job. Most organizations’ PR departments are usually comprised of a staff of one or two.
The good news is that by most accounts, the economy will continue to improve in 2015. The problem is that most organizations have been slow to loosen the grips on its purses. And depending on the industry, the PR budget usually takes the biggest hit in the organization. This leads to a dilemma for most CMOs when it comes to wage increases and new hiring.
“They believe they lack the time and resources to meet the demands of both content marketing and PR,” Jean Spencer, a content marketing manager and writer at Kapost, told the Content Marketing Institute. “After all, there are only so many hours in a week, and so many dollars for staffing.”
According to “The Future of Digital Marketing,” a study conducted by Mono, 80 percent of organizations will increase digital marketing budgets over the next year. Mono also found that companies will need more professionals with digital/social (54 percent), content creation (44 percent), big data/analytics (33 percent) and mobile strategy (30 percent) skills. That’s great news if you work for a large organization. But it you work for a smaller one, the bad news is that you will continue to wear both the PR and digital media hats in 2015. To make matters worse, it is highly unlikely that you will see a salary increase for all of the extra responsibilities.
The New Communicator
As an industry, PR will continue to flourish in 2015 with the emergence of new technologies. However, with all the buzz about the metamorphose of PR; many professionals have been slow to adapt to the new ways of establishing and maintaining a conversation with the public.
“While modern marketing has certainly changed best practices, one thing has remained constant: There’s always an opportunity to tell a better brand story to a larger audience,” said Spencer. “As a result, PR can play a powerful role in content marketing in 2015.”
Today’s PR specialists have learned how to fully integrate content and digital marketing with traditional PR tactics. Although you may continue to face budget and resource challenges in 2015, in the end, your success will still depend on how and where you tell your organization’s story.