The PR industry is currently undergoing big changes, meaning that people working in the industry need to understand and adapt to what is happening around them. This is especially true considering that PR pros of today don’t exactly have the same roles as they used to.

Whether you're a student who is working towards a career in PR, an industry veteran or just someone who wants to know more about the industry, there are all sorts of questions regarding the career. And for all those jet-setters ... it’s always best to be prepared.

Here, Target Media Directory looks at five FAQs about modern-day PR:

Question #1: How has the role of PR changed, regarding recent events?

The way in which PR clients are marketing their brands, or needing to market their brands, has shifted from making a profit to fulfilling a purpose. No longer are brands focussing on their wallets, as their consumers’ needs have changed as well.

“... As brands step back from overt selling, their marketing work has come to be heavily focused on ‘making people feel comfortable with the new normal’,” says Arun Sudhaman in an article for PRovoke.

Sensitivity is at an all-time high, and PR pros are well-equipped to ‘read the room’. That is why it’s important that brands enlist the services of these professionals to address their consumers, as they have been trained to know what to say, how to say it and how their clients can take a stance.

Consumers are more focussed on how brands can make a difference during this time, and PR pros are the ones that know exactly how their clients can do this in order to meet their audiences’ needs.

Sudhaman adds, “As demand grows for creative solutions that sensitively address all stakeholders, that are low-cost, can be delivered quickly and communicate through earned conversations rather than paid messaging, the opportunity for the PR industry should be clear.”

Question #2: How has communication been affected?

The pandemic has resulted in many businesses closing and events being postponed. One would think that the communications from clients regarding these events would thus diminish, and there would be no more need for clients to rely on their PR pros to discuss the impact of these happenings.

However, clients are quickly turning to their PRs for advice, and brands are relying heavily on these agencies to communicate all the changes within their companies.

“... Most [PR agencies] remain optimistic that comms programmes are now seen as pretty essential by organisations, particularly during a downturn,” says Danny Rogers in an article for PR Week.

It seems like it is PR’s time to shine, as brands are doing all they can to remain relevant and communicate their messages to the best of their ability. Communications regarding organisations is, as Rogers says, “essential” at this point, as any brand that doesn’t give feedback on what’s happening could risk losing their audiences.

Question #3: How do practitioners keep track of all their contacts?

PR professionals are needing to update their media contacts to keep up relevant to the declining economy. More and more publications are closing their businesses, which means that PR pros need to find new publications to send their clients' news to.

Additionally, media companies, like Media24, are also closing publishing titles and restructuring their operations, which, of course, means a new list of contacts. So, how can PR pros keep up?

Well, they can use solutions such as Target Media Directory. This tool allows professionals in the industry to keep track of a list of media contacts and titles. It also gives them access to, and allows them to search for, publications, broadcast stations, websites and blogs that they might be interested in.

PR pros can also make use of the ‘media content profile’, which allows them to identify key media in the industry. It also highlights any engagement opportunities or markets that can be reached, which is highly useful at this current point in time, considering all the businesses that are either shutting down or going digital.

Question #4: How can agencies stay ahead of the curve?

With the whole world going online, it’s likely that PR pros will need to adapt their strategies to the ‘new normal’. This is in terms of their clients potentially transitioning from traditional to online, as well as their own agencies shifting over to the digital world.

PR Daily’s Lasette Paras offers some tips on how practitioners can adapt their strategies:

Think before you speak
People are really feeling uncertain about the future at the moment. That’s why it’s important that PR pros communicate their clients’ messages in a sensitive and empathetic manner. “Err on the side of caution. If you’re not sure if you’re capitalising on someone else’s misfortune, you probably are,” explains Paras.

Get well-acquainted with current affairs
Most companies have already settled into a new routine, but it’s important that you don’t fall behind by reporting on past events now. It’s over, everyone has already moved on from that. It’s time to start getting acquainted with current affairs and ensuring that your clients are up to date with them.

Know your resources
Keep in mind that media coverage is not the only thing PR pros have to offer. Remember that there are other channels of communications as well, such as social media for example.

Re-focus your strategies
Now is as good a time as any to take a look at the content you’re producing and give it a bit of a revamp. If your client’s messaging is out of sync with the rest of the world, it might be time to give it an update.

Plan for the long-term
Start planning your content for the near future so that you’re not scrambling around when things take a new turn. Remember, brands are in it for the long haul, meaning that PR pros have to ensure that their client’s content remains relevant. This means that if your client has a story for their brand already, it might be time to adjust it for the new world.

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