As graduation approaches for the class of 2015, college seniors are facing a competitive job market that looks closely at summer internships, writing samples and worldly experience. But, as they attempt to pick a field, there are lingering questions of whether or not it’ll be the right fit and what they can do to stand out… “Do I have the qualities and skills a potential employer is looking for?” “What do companies want to see on my resume?” “What does success in this industry look like?” “How did those who came before me find their jobs?”
Well, I recently had the pleasure of speaking at Bentley University’s Marketing & Communication Career Conference 2015 to help students answer these very questions for the public relations industry. Alongside fellow panelists Derek Lyons, SHIFT Communications vice president; Danielle Millerick, StudentUniverse PR manager; and Alison Reynolds, Epsilon senior associate of corporate communications, we delved into how to break into the world of PR, exploring everything from our career path and what we like most about our jobs, to how we see the industry changing in the next five to 10 years.
Some interesting insights came from the panel discussion, a few of which are recapped below:
In-House Publications are On the Rise
In response to a question about where the PR industry is heading, our conversation turned to brand journalism and how new, corporate publications are cropping up. Ones like CMO.com from Adobe, Tech Page One from Dell, ARC from Applause or Threatpost from Kaspersky are becoming more and more prevalent; and, with this trend, PR needs to adapt. Either by familiarizing ourselves with this new frontier, or by leveraging it as a strategy we recommend to clients, this is an important area to watch. And, many traditional journalists are jumping on board to lead these types of outlets, too. So, it will be important to maintain relationships amid such transitions. As for where this trend is going next… perhaps further incorporation of multimedia and video.
Data, Data, Data
PR campaigns are increasingly focused on turning results from the intangible to the tangible… and that relies on data. How many clicks, shares and comments did an article get? How is this campaign generating sales leads? How much website traffic resulted from this news announcement? How much share of voice (SOV) does your client have compared to its competitors? The PR industry is under pressure to show its value beyond vague terms to what can really be measured. And, as a business-focused university, it’s no surprise that this was especially of interest to the Bentley crowd.
PR is at the Heart of Business
PR is sometimes thought of as nothing more than an add-on to the marketing team… a “nice to have,” but not something essential to leading the direction of a company. But, to the contrary, the panelists discussed how this is an exciting time to be involved in the marketing communications field and how this discipline as a whole is helping lead strategic elements. From funding and acquisitions to competitor analysis and geographic expansions, marketing and PR are right there in the inner circle. And, with the ability to intelligently counsel clients on how certain moves will play out in the public sphere, PR can be at the heart of any business.
What other insights would you share to this year’s graduating class looking for a career in PR?