5 skills to improve your PR in 2012

When December starts to roll into January the expected lists and ‘what to watch for’ blog posts come flying from all directions.

And I’ll add to the list if not for anything but for my own personal accountability.

As I start thinking about how the year just flew by, what I was able to accomplish and how I can make improvements in the new year.

In 2012, here are 5 skills to focus on improve on as a public relations professional.

  1. Social Media Outreach
    Everyone knows social media is not a fad. And if you are not using it in some way to your advantage, you’re missing out on a ton of new customers and developing relationships with them. Utilities and government (both industries in which I work) are the furthest behind in this alternative means to public relations.
  2. Professional Development
    If we’re not evolving as professionals, we are failing as professionals. But in this economy, money is tight. And the first thing to be cut is often professional development. But that doesn’t have to prevent you from growing. Getting a membership to the Public Relations Society of America or other industry organization can be valuable purchase, if you get involved. In 2012, PRSA is offering its webinars for free at no additional charge to its members. If you can’t spare the $300 or so for annual membership, there are plenty of fantastic blogs (like the ones in my blogroll) that can help.
  3. Become a better writer
    Everything we do as public relations professionals revolves around writing. We have to create amazing content to draw in customers and that means relating to them. Knowing your customer and being conversational with them are half the battle. And for god’s sake, avoid industry/corporate jargon at all costs.
  4. Get digital
    There are many valuable tools available to help measure the effectiveness of public relations online. Becoming versed in Google Analytics, a content management system and customer relations management are all digital ways to show the value of PR. And don’t forget about search engine optimization to make sure that people actually get to see all that great content you are creating.
  5. Be a teacher
    Going along the professional development route, PR pros need to be the teachers of public relations. Managements, clients and colleagues need to be educated on what is, and what is not public relations.
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