It has been a traumatic few months for South Africans since the President announced the national lockdown. Not only do people fear that they may contract COVID-19, people lucky enough to still have jobs wonder how long they will remain employed.
With the announcements of 2020's closures, retrenchments, or restructuring by various media companies including Caxton, the Associate Media Publishing, Media 24 and Primedia, people that work in the media industry are working under immense stress.
With the closure of these titles, PR professionals will have fewer platforms to share their clients' stories, unless they have been resourceful enough to evolve with the times by transforming their skills with the rise of the fourth industrial revolution.
However, if they haven't transformed, it is not too late; PR professionals have unique skillsets that position them positively to weather the COVID-19 storm.
Here are five unique skills and attributes of PR professionals
that will see them succeed despite COVID-19:
1. PR professionals are content marketers
PR professionals that still refer to themselves as media relations practitioners or refer to media relations as their core service need to reposition themselves.
They know what content sells, because they understand people's needs, what journalists require and they are generally very persuasive people who can make a good case for their stories.
With the closure of major titles, the pool of distribution has become smaller, but that doesn't change these core skills. These skills are invaluable
to all businesses. PR professionals need to evaluate these skills that enable them to be good at media relations and then reposition themselves and their businesses.
2. They are independent
Many PR professionals have started businesses because their ability to work and thrive independently sets them up for success. When starting a business, an entrepreneur must often run every aspect.
Thus, the ability to work independently is critical for success. Whether they have a major company backing them or not, PRs are resourceful, and they 'make things happen'. They find the answers they need by knocking on the right doors and then execute meticulously.
3. They are personal branding experts
They build their careers based on the relationships they have with people. Journalists, editors and leaders in various organisations will only work with or hire a PR professional if they know them personally or have prior work experience with them.
Trust is critical
. Therefore, they need to work hard at delivering on their promises because they know
their reputation is at stake. For this reason, they are great at personal branding because they know that personal branding is more than presentation
; it's about walking the talk.
4. PR professionals are creators
Clients often provide these professionals with short briefs and they are tasked with creating campaigns from nothing or with minimal information. They have experience creating, opening new doors for their clients because they know where to knock.
In creating and opening new opportunities for others, they create opportunities for themselves in the process. Anyone who can create, who can start something from nothing doesn't need to work for a well-known company to succeed.
5. They are fixers
Fixing seems to be all we've been doing these past few months. COVID-19 has revealed the insurmountable level of inequality in our country. In the workplace, employees have taken pay cuts and are barely meeting their basic needs.
Employers are dealing with a stressed and fearful workforce, while fighting to stay afloat and keep doors open amidst declining sales. There is a lot of problems that need fixing. PR professionals are known as fixers
and they are the ones ready to fight a crisis using the power of words and influence. We all need to diversify our skillsets
to survive the pandemic.
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