Most people are happy to see 2010 behind them, from a business standpoint and in many ways from a personal standpoint. Everyone knows someone who’s unemployed, under-employed, “upside down” with their mortgage or just feeling like moving on to a new year, new possibilities and priorities. For the PR trade, it wasn’t such a bad year, was it? Here at PR News, we observed the confidence level in the power of PR rising significantly. Perhaps it’s a function of necessity since ad and marketing spending usually skews higher than PR spend. But I see it more as a realigning of priorities within organizations, putting PR first when it comes to reputation management, crisis planning, branding, employee morale and productivity, and even product sales. More PR professionals are sitting comfortably in the social media driver’s seat and others are riding shotgun but starting to get it – understanding that having Facebook fans or tweeting twice a day is not enough (and sometimes not necessary). Most PR pros have had the epiphany that social media is a tool, not The Strategy. And there are other tools we need to dust off this year – face to face communication, customer service, reading to learn, picking up the phone and talking to reporters and other stakeholders. To name a few. And measurement – it never goes away, it just gets better. No one in PR these days will dare say they don’t measure their PR efforts. It’s like a doctor admitting he doesn’t read the results of a patient’s blood work or a school principal ignoring student grades. The challenge for 2011 is doing something smart and bold with the research and analytics you fight so hard for in your budget each year. Metrics are easy to come by these days – what you do with the results will separate the masters from the amateurs. The more masters we have in our industry, the more powerful PR will be.
— Diane Schwartz