There’s an interesting article in today’s PR week on the changing role of public relations over the years. Danny Rogers, PR Week’s editor-in-chief says that while PR may have changed the general position has remained the same. Whilst I agree with that I’m not sure I agree with Mr Rogers’ argument that content is just what we’ve always produced but in a different form these days. That’s fine when it comes to producing storylines and images, but these days PR people are expected to know and provide much more than that. These days PR people, especially those who specialize in particular industries, are expected to know enough to write byline articles, blogs and opinion pieces on the subject. We have become an extension of their marketing team and as such we are required to know as much about the technology or service and then produce well constructed comments about the industry as if we have been working for the client company for years ourselves.
When I first started in PR it was fine to know enough about the client to write a decent press release or case study and even then you’d get a brief beforehand. These days it’s much more involved. We need to get behind the philosophy of the company, understand what they are aiming to achieve then produce compelling content to help them get there. There are no cosy briefs, just a few bullet points to steer us down the right thought path then the rest is up to us.