Will blog skills help student job-hunters?
EuroBlog 2006 suggested a majority of PR practitioners across Europe will engage with blogs in the coming months - but it is clear many organisations have a steep learning curve ahead of them. In a piece for the next issue of Behind the Spin magazine I asked some of the key speakers at the University of Sunderland's Delivering the New PR conference - Tom (PR Opinions) Murphy, Neville (FIR) Hobson and Stuart (PR Guru) Bruce and others what they thought student bloggers like Stephen PR Blogger Davies (left) could bring to the industry. Meanwhile Richard Bailey has drawn up a job spec to help would-be recruits - and prospective employers - think through these fast-emerging issues.
- The next issue of Behind the Spin is out in early May - watch this space
- Delivering the New PR is in London on May 12
- Download the_new_pr_conference_flyer_london.pdf
Here's a version of the Behind the Spin article...
If you believe some commentators, exciting new technologies are set to dramatically change the way public relations is practised. Weblogs and podcasts are springing up all over the place, and “social softwares” like MySpace, You Tube, and MSN are an essential part of daily life for many.
EuroBlog 2006 (www.euroblog2006.org), the first major study of the impact of weblogs on PR in 33 countries, painted a picture of a “two-speed Europe“. Some practitioners see wide-ranging benefits, from tracking competitors and monitoring industry trends, to bypassing journalists and communicating their own messages directly. Others failed to see benefits for their companies or clients.
Almost one-in-three respondents said they regularly write or contribute to weblogs, and 42 percent of those who didn’t already maintain blogs intended to do so within the next 12 months.
Certainly the number of agencies and organisations sending delegates to “New PR” conferences, such as those run by the University of Sunderland, suggests a real desire to understand the new technologies. And there are signs that some are looking to new recruits to help them meet the challenges and threats they may pose.
One thing most agree on is that the blogosphere is a turbulent arena and that there are pitfalls in wait for a PR who jumps in without understanding its conventions.
One person who has tested the water to good effect is Stephen Davies, the best known PR student blogger in the UK. His PR Blogger site is read avidly by some of the biggest names in the PR blogosphere and his online reputation has helped him secure a work placement at Lewis PR.
Tony Bradley, president of the CIPR and a partner in Newcastle-based Bradley O’Mahoney Public Relations, believes sharp students can be a real asset to established agencies.
“Understanding the changing mechanisms of communication is increasingly critical these days – and this is where new entrants into the industry can teach us old hands a thing or two.
“How can we tap into the latest developments like blogging and podcasting to engage more effectively with stakeholders? How can we do what we do but do it better? These are questions which graduates like Stephen Davies must help us answer. He’s been working as an intern in my own consultancy, and in the short time he’s been here he’s forced us to rethink our stance on technologies such as blogging, podcasting and how people interact with websites.”