My 5 hopes for Communicators
Happy 2010, blog readers! Wow. We survived a troubling 2009, but I believe even with the economy as bad as it was (and those in the know say we are by no means over the doom and gloom) the signs that PR is as credible and worthy profession were abundant.
Sure, communication budgets were trimmed and slashed. Yes, there were too many pay cuts, buyouts. But I think the economic woes forced us to rethink how they we brand our organisations, connect with shareholders and uphold reputations using tools that previously we had sneered at.
During the end of every year, I get introspective, this year I was even more so with the passing of a decade. So I came up with a list of my five hopes for communicators in 2010. I look forward to you sharing yours as well.
Network: I hope as communicators we continue to keep our networks alive. It’s difficult I know, and between 12 hour days, too little time at home and too much hours commuting in traffic, who has the time? But communicators must continue to keep professional connections alive. I have a perfect example. When the economic fall out happened in the financial industry in Trinidad, every communicator I know that was affected was able to land jobs within a 3 month span. Why? Their networks were strong. Friends gave them leads, spoke of hidden job openings and provided coaching. I think the recession was a great wake up call to see the importance of a valuable network. This year we need to engage and use them more.
Brand yourself: This follows up from Point 1. But too often we have been so consumed with branding our organisations that we forget that behind it is a communicator doing some terrific work. It’s like the communicator was a ghost. Today, I think communicators must create their own persona online. We all need a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account. And please, use real names and pictures. So yes, support your organizations’ brand, but get your own as well.
Stop using facebook as only a maco book: To do so is to perform a great disservice. It represents a shame and a missed opportunity. Facebook and the likes are new social way of crowd sourcing, sharing news, gaining business insights, connecting for business and winning contracts. I recommend Twitter and Linked In too. These tools are no longer oddities they are part of our pedestrian lives but they can also be used as powerful business tools once we spend less time macoing and more time sharing, observing, learning. To me, these concepts converge.
Speak the lingo: Nothing will make our profession seems as ancient and out-of-touch, than not understanding the current technologies and speaking about the profession in terms of anecdotes. To say your event was well attended, to not know how to relate every tactic in terms of a measurable ROI is simply not good enough. And forget the excuse about not be mathematically inclined, it will simply make you seem lazy and a communicator not plugged into the profession’s heartbeat.
Brag about and love PR: 2009 was a tough year and whenever I talked to my colleagues too many of us were under the gun, fatigued, overwhelmed with work and underwhelmed by our budgets. We were just plain tired and fed up. I hope in 2010 we take more frequent breaks and that it gives us the energy to have re-started 2010 with passion and praise. I mean what profession do you know, carries you from managing a crisis, to planning a helluva a party, to dealing with the press, to thinking critically about a business problem, assisting a community or planning budget. That’s PR and there is no profession like it. Let’s be passionate again, by God, our companies and clients need us.