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Holding on to what sets PR apart

PRstackIt’s great to see the second PRstack book published last week, an impressive collaborative effort by a wide spectrum of talent in the UK PR industry. The book highlights tools and techniques for modern, predominantly digital-led, PR.

It amazes me that many commentators are still voicing concern that the industry has not entirely woken up to the indisputable fact that PR has become more technical. The PRstack initiative is a great force to redress this, offering practical advice to anyone in PR from graduates to those who still think PR is all about press lists and boozy lunches.

This latest edition and the first PRstack book (for it is encouraged that they are not read in isolation) are exceptional works and represent a real practical step forward in modernising PR. But the focus of these books is on tools and workflow and, and I am sure the authors would agree, they do not alone present a comprehensive blueprint of what today’s PR should be all about.

As the boundaries between PR and digital marketing have blurred, the one thing that sets the profession of PR apart from any other is its deep-rooted specialism in relationship building.

Making contact (I specifically avoid the term ‘reaching out’) with journalists, bloggers and other influencers and establishing working relationships with these people is a core skill for PR professionals. This cannot be substituted by apps.

Apps can of course help with relationship building, as many in the PRstack compendium are designed to do. And let’s not forget many social media platforms are at least in theory built around the concept of personal networks. But these tools alone do not help us establish and maintain relationships. In the process of modernising the work of PR we must not neglect critical ‘people’ skills, regardless of the channels or tools we may use to execute them.

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