New knowledge for PR professionals: how much do you know?

Posted on: July 16th, 2009

“I’m supposed to be on top of what’s new in tech, but there’s just too much, too fast; it’s like drinking from a fire hose”

I like this quote a lot.  American tech columnist, David Pogue, said this and it’s sometimes how I feel trying to keep up with social media.

Today’s PR professional needs to be on top of many new things to keep up with the rapid technological and social changes we’re experiencing.  Knowing traditional methods is one thing, but it’s important to keep abreast of new developments that can help client’s achieve their goals.

It’s not enough to be good or great these days, you need to be brilliant, which takes a lot of bloody work (…or, comes quite naturally to some really annoying people!).  It is impossible to know everything, but here are some areas that today’s PR professional should, in some degree, be across or should be working toward knowing:

  1. Knowledge of the macro environment, that is, the forces that are shaping media and media consumption and the new influence structures that have developed
  2. Knowledge of the main social media tools and their nuances and direct experience with them, that is, actually being part of it not just talking about it
  3. Knowledge of different types of releases from traditional media releases, to consumer/customer focused releases sent via wires services, to social media and search engine optimised releases
  4. Knowledge of social media etiquette and how to have and sustain two-way conversations with people and communities
  5. An understanding of the importance of search and search engine optimisation and how search and content work together
  6. An understanding of the value of content and context, and also what web-friendly content is and how to distribute it across the social web
  7. Knowledge and experience with information organisation / management tools – RSS, tagging, bookmarking etc
  8. Knowledge of monitoring and insight tools, from free tools and blog search engines to paid monitoring tools
  9. Knowledge of how to integrate social media into PR programs based on strategy not random tool selection based on what’s cool right now
  10. An understanding of how to measure social media results


I’m still grappling with some of these points and I don’t know a whole lot of stuff but I do know what I don’t know and sometimes that’s half the battle won.

Posted by Renee Creer
Image by the brilliant Carl Sherriff

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