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The Changing PR Landscape: Going Digital

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

“The only constant is change”

– Heraclitus.

Thousands of years later, this Greek philosophy still rings true, in life and business. As little as 10 years ago, PR and Marketing rarely overlapped, but according to the 2017 Global Communications Report, almost half of the participants believe that PR and marketing will become more aligned over the next 5 years, and of the 800 PR professionals from around the world that took part in the survey, only 5% thought that PR and Marketing will be separate functions in the future.

In this age of digital transformation, PR agencies are in the thick of an ever-changing landscape, which raises a number of questions. What are agencies doing to stay ahead of the curve when the whole world is “going digital”? What does “going digital” actually mean in the context of a PR agency? How can PR professionals jump on the digital bandwagon, and super-charge their careers?

Going digital?

We are all consumers and for most of us, the way that we share and consume information is ever evolving - the way we shop, the way we socialise, the way we learn and even the way we find love!

We are adapting to a digital world and it is imperative that corporations are immersing themselves in the digital world of their customers, whether they be consumer, enterprise or corporate brands.

As a result, corporations are looking for more than column inches in the Straits Times and turning to digital channels to engage their audiences. PR agencies are evolving to fulfil these demands to improve ROI and increase their client’s bottom line. Digital PR is becoming fundamental to the success of any campaign.

How are PR agencies hiring to adapt?

Traditionally, PR professionals are hired for their creative thinking, strategic angles and ‘wordsmithery’, but digital capabilities are increasingly becoming more of a consideration.

So how are agencies adapting their hiring tactics to incorporate digitally savvy employees and ultimately meet their client’s requirements?

1. Some are building entire digital teams that work across the whole business, helping their clients to achieve the desired results.

2. Others are partnering with digitally capable agencies, particularly network agencies with sister agencies.

3. Some are hiring digital specialists as freelancers or contractors to work on ad-hoc projects or as they require support.

Rather than purely hiring PR Account Execs/Managers etc, we’re increasingly seeing PR agencies hiring other titles such as Digital Strategists, Creative Directors, Art Directors, Digital Planners, Content Creation Specialists and Content Strategists, as they bring in a wider range of capabilities into the agency.

These new hires may come from other integrated PR agencies, or even from digital or advertising agencies.

All aboard the digital bandwagon

Whether you’re in digital or traditional PR, your clients will all be in pursuit of the same result - enhancing their reputation; increasing awareness among target audiences and ultimately generating more sales.

Digital is fundamental to the success of most PR campaigns now, so if you’re looking to take on a more digital role, where should you start?

1. Look at your own job description. Maybe digital is already part of your day to day? Highlight this in your CV. If you’re not already doing any digital client work, is there anything you can volunteer to work on?

2. Explore different online platforms. Are you active online in a way that could enhance your reputation? Even curating a beautifully themed Instagram feed and building up a strong following can show potential employers that you are savvy online, even if it’s not part of your current job description.

3. Educate yourself. In Singapore Hyper Island, Econsultancy and General Assembly all offer robust digital courses, and Udacity offers interesting online courses. Maybe your current employer would consider sponsoring you to do a course as part of their own digital transformation process, or if you’re Singaporean you may be able to use your Skills Future credit.

4. Sign up to the trade press. This will help you keep abreast of the agencies and companies that are excelling in digital PR, and keep an eye out for jobs at those agencies which are at the forefront of the digital transformation.

5. Need more help? 33 Talent specialise in communications and digital recruitment – we are experts in our field and are working with top agencies and corporations who are looking for talented professionals just like you! Keep an eye out on the 33 Talent website for our latest jobs, or email me at KJ@33talent.com.