But I am a PR and am in control.

It is the one thing that PR professionals have built reputations on….being in control. Whether it is media management or the latest initiative the industry has long held the reins of the channels of communication in an organisation, but not any more.
There are two interesting events that I am involved with in the next two weeks. The first is a social media workshop with police officers from across Europe. It takes place next week with representatives from America, Canada and Germany to name just a few. They have decided to hold the event in Manchester which is real recognition of the work that has been going on I the UK, North West and in Manchester specifically. The most exciting element of the event is that it is all about how real officers and law enforcement agencies are using social media themselves to make a difference to their communities.
I have written before about the importance of relinquishing control of social media and for PR professionals to take up a new role in advising and supporting but not controlling. There are many police officers now using social media and they are forging their own future. We either need to work with them or we will find the industry is left out in the cold.
The second event takes place on Monday 14 November and is being run by theĀ PRCAasking whether the PR industry has lost control. It looks like it will be a lively discussion and I am sure there will be a range of views. My position will be clearly that we have had to define a new role and that includes giving up strict control to take up a position where we give advice and guidance. With the growth of social media the power is now in the hands of the individual, the citizen and no longer is news restricted to the world of the journalist. We could sit and lament the loss of the past and avoid facing up to the future. I prefer to view things with my eyes wide open and with a thirst to embrace what lies ahead.
There are many factors that are leading to the change taking place not just social media and the opportunities technology offers. One of the things all PR professionals have to face and cope with is the financial crisis that shows no signs of disappearing at the moment. In the 1990s and most of 2000s we had large budgets and bosses that were keen to maximise the impact that spending could bring. Today it feels like a lifetime away as I continue to try to squeeze all I can from a dwindling budget. In this era of austerity control becomes an unaffordable luxury that most organisations cannot fund.
It is time to embrace the new era of PR and communication and accept that control is no longer in the hands of any one individual or group.

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One Response to But I am a PR and am in control.

  1. Dan Slee says:

    Good stuff, Amanda.

    To be trad comms in 2011 is like being King Canute standing by the incoming time. You’ll be overtaken and there’s nothing you can do to change this. Scary? Not really. Exciting if you are prepared to change your thinking. For me today, being a comms person is about holding the door open for bright people in the organisation. To let them be creative and to deliver the organisation’s message.

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