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What the next generation of PR can learn from the next generation of journalists

Jay Rosen, a professor of journalism, gave a speech to his incoming class of journalism students at Science Po in Paris with advice on how to prepare themselves as the new media generation. Perhaps the new generation of PR can learn from these tips too.

Said Jay,

Typically when people like me—a professor of journalism who is deeply involved in the digital world—advise people like you—students just starting their careers in journalism—we say to you things like:

You need to be blogging.

You need to understand search engines.

You need to know Flash and perhaps HTML5.

You need to grasp web metrics like Google analytics.

You need to know how to record audio or edit video

You need to “get” mobile. ("Mobile is going to be big!")

And all those things are true. They are all important. But I want to go in a completely different direction today. Ready? You need to understand that the way you imagine the users will determine how useful a journalist you will be.

Tip #1 – You need to be blogging

As you start blogging, you realise that content is more important than deciding on the platform.

You can use Wordpress or Blogspot, or have a beautiful theme, but without content, your blog will not gain any traction.

Content, content, content is key to social media success. Think of the objective, and how you can use the content to create rapport with the public, then final decide on your social medium.

PR also need to learn how to respond to a blogging journalist or suggest replies for clients.

Tip #2 - You need to understand search engines.

The biggest reason why you create content is to allow search engines to find you. Search Social PR on Google today and this blog will most likely be on 2nd or 3rd.

This also allows you to structure your headline so it has the keyword that will put you on top of the search engine.

In the digital world, it is no longer key messages. Its keywords, keywords and more keywords.

Tip #3 - You need to know Flash and perhaps HTML5.

It would be best to know the language. If you are not the programming type, know people are at the top of the game or doing work on it.

I was recently asked to pitch for a very extensive development of a Facebook game. Rather than saying no, I built a virtual team to provide for the development.

Tip #4 - You need to grasp web metrics like Google analytics.

Clients love numbers and the bigger  they are, the better. Just kidding.

Analytics help you to define your content too and it allows you to identify where people are coming from to read that content.

Analytics could range from Google Analytics to using free services like Social Mention to monitor your client’s brand health in the social media space.

Facebook Pages also provide you with analytics which allow you to develop your next content. For example, a client found that their Facebook Page have hitting the right target age group but have too much female fans. As such, the next steps are to build content targeted at attract male audience.

Tip #5 - You need to know how to record audio or edit video

While text is great for search engine, audio and video often attract a better attention rate. It also makes the client communication unique.

Uniqueness attracts.

It shouldn’t be about record audio or edit video, but also understanding or suggesting the best equipment within the budget.

For example, I know of a PR agency which shot videos of its round table and the video shaky. The audio itself sounded it came from the video camera itself, hence, the background noise.

A tripod would have helped reduce or completely removed the shake, while using a wireless audio mic would have reduce the noise.

Tip #6 -  You need to “get” mobile. ("Mobile is going to be big!")

How do you attract attention of the mobile user if your content is one chunk of paragraphs without any breaks?

A mobile user is using the smartphone on the move, so should you look at changing the structure of the content so that it reads fast and easy to consume?

Hope these tips help for the new PR generation to be citizens of the communication industry.

(Note – by understanding search engine, the sentence above might get hits from searches of keywords of PR (Permanent Resident) and citizen/s.

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