Each month we have been reaching out to notable communications professionals to ask them a few questions about their experiences and interests, with the goal of providing some insights to others in the industry. For 2016’s first edition of ‘Questions for the PR Industry,’ we had the chance to speak with Deirdre Breakenridge. Deirdre is the CEO of Pure Performance Communications, as well as a speaker, author, and the co-founder or #PRStudChat.
CEO, Pure Performance Communications
How do you put together a pitch?
Journalists and bloggers are bombarded with pitches daily, so you have to make yours stand out from the crowd. In November 2015, I participated in a panel session at the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) International Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Our discussion focused on how you have to move your storytelling to new levels, with more visuals and interactive content. One way to really ramp up storytelling and to share fresh angles with the media is to use more data insights and statistics in your pitches. Journalists look for data points that are unique to a company, market or an industry. At the same time, you can analyze data and creatively package the insights into eye-catching visuals and graphics, or videos that will capture a journalist’s attention, and get you more coverage as a result.
What skill(s) do you think are crucial to working in PR/communications?
Today, not only do PR professionals have to be proficient in writing, pitching various media and relationship building, but they also have to be skilled in social media and mobile technologies, SEO and SEM, content marketing, and data capture and analytics. Social media has changed the way we approach and practice communications, from our research practices and how we can reach different audiences to the manner in which we engage with customers and important constituents in their communities. Organization are looking for professionals who have these competencies, and those who can also navigate the changing media landscape and adapt quickly to a global business environment.
What do you see as the future direction of the industry?
The future direction of PR will be focused on data, technology, collaboration, and, of course, media. Technological advancements, more access to data for gathering deeper customer insights, storytelling and stakeholder co-creation with your brand, and an understanding of how to navigate the changing media environment will help PR to communicate more effectively and to forge deeper relationships with important constituents.
Consumers will continue to drive their own communications; openly discussing how they prefer to gather, organize, consume, and then share the news and information they enjoy. Moving forward, it will be the responsibility of PR professionals to understand the preferences, create and distribute the relevant stories and to meet consumer needs, where, when and how they want their information. At the same time, an instantaneous feedback loop will help to build the kind of relationships that lead to brand loyalty and advocacy.
Have a story you would like to share? Let us know on Twitter at @PRTheAgency or in the comment section below!