Top 5 Digital Skills PR Leaders Need to Master

A new study of CMOs released Jan. 23 by Forrester Research and Heidrick & Struggles finds that marketing leaders could use a little help with digital know-how. When CMOs were asked which skills and competencies they see as opportunities to improve, "technology-savviness" was the top answer (48%), following by "relationship building with senior executive team" (38%) and "time management" (27%).

Given that PR executives are often in charge of tech-heavy digital/social initiatives, PR News asked Robin Shin (@RobinNaomi), senior account executive in Ogilvy's San Francisco office—and tech-savvy to boot—to cite the top five skills that PR leaders need to master in the digital communications landscape. They are as follows:

  1. Content Creation: The Internet is being flooded every day with more and more content, and PR pros need to be aware of how to develop the right content to compete with the never-ending buzz and best tell their story using the right channels that reach their audience. A press release or a media alert might have been the standard before, but nowadays brands are using video or photo assets to tell their story and have swapped the traditional press release for a multimedia release. A picture (or video) is worth a thousand words.

  2. Gamefication: "Gamification" is the use of game design techniques to engage audiences and amplify a brand's online and social presence.  Whether hosting a Twitter contest or distributing Foursquare badges for  check-ins, more and more brands are using this rewards/incentives system to connect with their target audiences and amplify the brand's presence in the digital space.

  3. Measurement: Setting up a measurement system that maps back to your program's objectives is imperative to understanding whether the digital program you've developed is influential and has moved the needle. Without setting up the proper measurement foundation and metrics there is no way to tell if your digital program has had the desired effect.

  4. SEO: Search engine optimization is important in improving the visibility of your brand's Web site targeting different types of search—news search, image search, video search and industry-specific vertical search engines. If you don't know how to optimize the search for your brand, your target audience will likely consume your competitors' content instead.

  5. Mobility: Just about everyone has a mobile device that keeps them connected 24/7 to work/personal e-mail, social networks, news media, etc. Being able to stay connected all day, every day keeps us connected to the world and constantly updated. In addition, PR pros must stay current with mobile developments and trends.

Join us in San Francisco for PR News' Feb. 16 Digital PR Summit in San Francisco, a one-day conference featuring digital communications leaders from Southwest Airlines, American Heart Association, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, PepsiCo and more.

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About Scott Van Camp

Scott Van Camp is editor of PR News, an executive-level, reader-supported publication that helps enhance the business impact of PR. Scott has a rich background in both journalism and PR/marketing. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer/editor at various consumer and trade publications. Scott was with VNU Business Publications for five years, including stints as managing editor at IQ News and Technology Marketing magazines and senior editor at Brandweek. In the PR/marketing sphere, he has served as corporate communications manager at MarketBridge, a marketing and sales consultancy, and as editorial director for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. While at the Council, Scott led several high-profile marketing research projects. He has also operated his own communications and media consulting firm, SVC Communications.

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