How the Role of a PR Person Has Changed

Vikki Chowney, Head of Content + Publishing Strategies explores how the role of a PR person has changed in the content age.

The role of the PR as facilitator of conversations hasn’t changed; but the parties involved have.

Once upon a time, PRs would facilitate discussions between clients and press, policymakers or celebrity agents, over time this has developed to include consumers directly, through proper ‘public’ relations that allowed clients to talk directly to people through social and digital channels.

Now, with the onset of an obsession with content, and every brand wanting to be a publisher, we see a new audience developing; the makers. All of a sudden, it’s not just about connecting influencers and brands, it’s about introducing people who can build, design or create great things for you.

Because of classic fee structure, there’s historically been a tendency for communications experts to want to answer things themselves - to retain both budget and control over a relationship.

But there will always be value in the matchmaker; the one who makes the introductions, outlines why a partnership makes sense and then directs as appropriate. And while being introduced to the right person at the right time is always going to give a third party a better chance at converting that into actual work, you can bet your life that in this hyper-connected age, those same third parties are reaching out to your clients directly anyway. And with brands becoming more interested and influenced by the power of co-creation, they’re more open to smaller, niche producers than ever.

While PRs have typically been expected to be able to do everything, people with a broad knowledge of communications, and deep, specialist areas of insight - those ‘T shaped’ people – are becoming more prominent. As the scope of what’s expected grows, it’s actually the specialists who become more valuable – not those who can profess to do everything. It’s the specialists that know the right people to get involved at the right time, and it’s those type of roles that will allow the industry to flourish.

Vikki Chowney

Hill & Knowlton Strategies Search