Are PR jobs increasing? Questions about PR.

A friend teaches at the University of Georgia, my alma mater, and I asked if her students had any questions about the PR biz. I’ll be answering some of their questions in a series of posts.

Let’s get started.

Q. Are PR jobs increasing today? Is the terminology for these jobs changing (maybe there’s a new buzzword, like “Media Manager” or “Communications Director” that is becoming more common)?

A. First, I don’t know the actual stats about overall PR jobs increasing or decreasing. I could go and look up those stats, but I thought I’d answer from my own perspective. In my PR career, I have focused on public relations/marketing for companies at the intersection of technology, media, and marketing. Currently, I don’t see any decrease in the need for skilled PR professionals.

Technology and digital companies need help marketing their products, apps, and software. Whether you work internally at a company or externally for a PR or advertising agency, someone has to work to market the company’s product within the marketplace.

As the media continues it’s rapid and continous transformation, someone has to be able to negotiate the media landscape and figure out the infleuncers within an industry that should be writing about a company or product. Usually, that’s a PR person.

There are several trends within marketing/pr that point to strong opportunties for the future:

Social media – While many people may argue about whether or not PR should “own” social media within companies, thus far it has often fallen to PR to figure out a company’s social media strategy – especially when responding to external criticisms and complaints.

Regardless of who ends up “owning” social media from a corporate perspective, the skilled PR practioners of the future will have their own social media audiences/influencers. I would recommend that young PR people not “wait” for a boss or superior to suggest that the get active in social media. Start now to build your own audience via social media – beyond your circle of friends and classmates.

Apps – App marketplaces are growing. But companies and developers all face the same dilemma – how do we get attention for our app when there are hundreds of new apps released every single week.

It’s a conundrum. But, I would argue PR can help move the needle with app downloads and attention. That’s why I co-founded APPetite PR last year.

Content creators – Many PR/marketers are beginning to realize that the rules have changed. If a company has limited marketing dollars, they can’t create advertising camapigns that “scream” at their audience via digital and tradtional ads. With inbound marketing, companies can create their own content – blogs, infographics, podcasts, videos – to drive awareness of their unique products and services.

While most companies understand the power of inbound marketing, they struggle with creating content. And, if they create it, they may create it for 3 or 4 weeks, and then abandon the effort amid competing priorotories. It has been proven, time and time again, the companies that set up a regular schedule and crank out useful, powerful content over and over again, end up dominating search results and building a powerful community of fans – and sell more products, software, or apps.

If you’re a PR student, and this appeals to you. Again, don’t wait! Don’t do one assignment for a class and hope that that will work for your resume. Practice content creation now. Start your own blog, write blog articles consistently. Try other forms of media creation – videos, audio podcasts, etc.

If you’re looking for a PR job and can point employers to a thriving blog that you’ve built and nourished, you’re going to stand out among potential employees.