Oct 192010

Silvia Davi, NASDAQ - Alayna Francis, Swiss Re - Gemma Craven, Ogilvy

Ragan PR posted an interesting video on their PR Daily site recently. Mark Ragan spoke with three PR vice presidents about the highs and lows of the profession, what they look for in new hires and the impact of social media.

It’s LONG, over 14 minutes but a lot of what they said really resonated with me. All three were women, and Mark asked them directly why women make up an estimated¬† 70% of the PR industry.

Here are my highlights:

Skills new hires need — They all talked about how Generation Y grads often don”t know how to write well. No matter how short communications become, clarity is critical. People skills are lacking — you’re going to act as the conduit between the media and the client — you need to know how to act.

And they all look for curiosity — I couldn’t agree more here. There’s no checklist or manual with all the PR secrets in it — all three wanted curious people who would seek out new skills, story angles, find a way to gain the information needed to succeed.

What’s changed about PR — There’s no off switch today, it’s often 24/7 with no time to disconnect. Deliverables require faster turnaround times, which connects back to being a good writer and to being intellectually curious. Common sense is more critical than ever — this point I found really interesting.

With the prevalence of social media and (for some clients) disclosure requirements, PR practitioners need to know when NOT to share certain information. This can be difficult for millennials who have grown up disclosing everything via their favorite socmed channels.

Why are women better at PR? — This was a great question, an evergreen issue and certainly one I’ve noticed about the industry. As a guy, trying to answer this question would have been dicey, opening myself up to accusations of stereotyping. But these are the theories of the panel, so don’t kill the messenger here.

They saw three main reasons:

  • Women are better at multitasking
  • Women are still steered towards the softer sciences in school, which funnel into PR
  • Women are more detail oriented, and more organized in general

Debatable, but definitely thought provoking. Here’s the full interview.

  3 Responses to “The Challenges of PR Today — and Why Women Rule”

  1. As a woman in PR, I have to agree that we do it better ;-). Seriously though, you hit some of the main reasons on the head. Women, in general, are better multi-taskers and organizers. But what I’ve come to realize is that women are more intuitive in relationships – whether client or employees. Sitting in front of a client, we don’t just pay attention to the words spoken. We notice body language and emotion. We know when to push and when to back down. When we engage with employees we are quick to encourage and praise instead of always taking a hard line.

    The results – well, they are just different. But in my experience, these intricacies make us better in overall communications and therefore better at the fundamentals of PR.

  2. Great piece. Thank you, but I have to point out that the first sentence after “Skills New Hires Need.” is just a little too ironic. :)

  3. Hey Chris, it seems your blog is germane to Kathy and my return to DC: we’re finally back to a place where the wine selection is top notch, we just bought a Mini Cooper, and Martek Global has initiated an effort to amp up our online presence including contributing to, and drawing from, online social media channels.

    Keep it coming!

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