Make the Jump: PR Rocks/PR Sucks, YouTube’ing, Go Lead Idaho

Make the Jump
a weekly roundup of insights, observations, tools, techniques and musings to provide a spark.

PR Rocks/PR Sucks

If you practice public relations, no doubt you’ve seen the two juxtaposed articles about our profession in the past two weeks.

On one hand, you are a genius if you’ve started, or are thinking of starting, a public relations practice.
On the other hand,
you are a crazy person if you are thinking of getting into PR…it’s STRESSFUL!
Like any intriguing headline they only tell a small portion of the real story.

According to Inc., public relations made the list of the most promising industries for startups. Why?

“The fact is that consumers having social media access, and really wanting to express their opinions about brands online, makes companies vulnerable.” he (Gary McCormick, PRSA Board Chair) says. “Running an ad isn’t going to stop that. That’s where PR comes in.”

The industry has a low barrier to entry, and low capital intensity, but is highly competitive. It’s a field increasingly conducive to very small firms and independent professionals.

While I do agree that PR is an industry with great potential (why else would my partner & I have started a firm in 2008?) I have a few other points to make related to the reasons why:

  • It’s not just about protecting companies that are vulnerable, the democratization of communication means that professionals with a broad array of expertise – reporting, analyzing, creative strategy, engagement – are more crucial than ever to be facilitators of conversations. It’s not about being a gatekeeper (as in decades past), but about being the individual that can identify opportunities and bring various people together around issues and ideas. The need for these skills have multiplied ten-fold and will only continue to do so.
  • While I can appreciate anyone who takes the risk to go out on their own, I have trouble seeing sole practitioners (aka independent professionals) as ‘startups.’ I suspect this will rub some feathers the wrong way – which is not my intent. Independents are professionals as well. But when I think of startups I think of small businesses that grow with the intent of driving economic impact in their community and/or industry. There are additional risks when building and scaling a team that do not come into play when you are operating solo.
  • Another reason for the potential for PR has to do with how the industry is continuing to redefine itself – beyond tactical press release pushers and more towards communication thought-leaders, creative strategists and business counselors.

Now to the negative – CareerCast’s Top 10 Most Stressful Jobs for 2011. PR Professionals came in at #2. Why?

Public Relations Officers are responsible for creating and maintaining a positive image with the public for many companies and government agencies. They typically are responsible for giving presentations and making speeches, often in front of large crowds. This highly-competitive field and tight deadlines keep stress at high-levels for specialists. Some PR officers, also, are required to interact with potentially hostile members of the media.

Jennifer Hellickson, blogging at PerkettPRsuasion, makes some great points about why this listing, while validating to some, is a bit overboard. In essence, any job is inherently stressful… stress is subjective. (Heck, my boyfriend’s a firefighter and I would venture his gig is a bit more stressful than mine.) Jennifer makes some great points about our profession and how variety is the spice of life for PR (and may also lead to stress for others)

YouTube’ing & TV Terms

As a former news producer I’m drawn to multimedia. We’re constantly working at incorporating more video into our work for clients, and to showcase our agency. Two posts this past week had some nuggets worth sharing.

Mashable’s PR Pro’s Guide to YouTube highlighting a few ways you can use online video to execute your communications programs.

Ragan’s PR Daily Pitching Terminology: 8 TV News Terms PR Pros Shoud Know Bridget Jewell lists off some of the jargon of TV news. A pretty good overview (though I’d add in VO/SOT – video over sound, a short story that includes an anchor talking with a soundbite in the middle of the story. Shorter than a taped package but can be equally as impactful)

Free Tool

5 Webinar Tools for Marketing your Expertise from Open Forum’s Idea Hub. (Skype is the only one I’ve tried to date but I am intrigued by AnyMeeting)

Infographic Love

(Created by CourseHero)

Go Lead Idaho

We’ll end with a quick plug for an event Red Sky is helping to support.

The White House Project is bringing its award-winning Go Lead Training to Idaho May 21 from 9am – 5pm at Boise State University. Led by regional experts, this nonpartisan intense one-day seminar offers insight, skills and trainings in public speaking, leadership development and board/commission appointments to empower Idaho’s women to take on stronger leadership roles in their communities. Learn more, register and help Go Lead Idaho!

- Jess Flynn

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