3 skills every communicator must have


Martin Waxman and I were getting ready to record Inside PR and he said, “Did you see Clay Shirky’s post on Medium about the death of journalism?”

I hadn’t, but you know what I did next.

Titled, “Last Call: The End of the Printed Newspaper,” I was intrigued because it so nicely tied in with the recent New York Times announcement that it’s laying off 100 journalists .

(Plus I love Clay Shirky, who refers to himself as, “Bald. Unreliable. Easily distracted…”)

It’s an interesting piece on what’s going on with newspapers and I recommend the read.

It also will create a nice debate because people are passionate about the topic: Some believe newspapers aren’t dying and others believe they’re already dead.

He presents a good case for the end of the printed newspaper. But here’s what stuck with me, from a communications point-of-view. He details three pieces of advice to journalists who haven’t yet been fired, but are likely on their way there.

[RELATED: Discover what the best workplaces do to maintain incredible employee engagement and retention statistics.]

His advice works for the communicator, too. Here’s why.

1. Get good with numbers . We no longer have to rely on media impressions and advertising equivalencies to prove our worth. We’ve always been an expense—and typically one of the first to get cut in a down economy. Today we have the huge opportunity to become an investment…if we can get good with numbers.

I know, I know. You went into PR because you’re not good at math. Get over it. Figure it out. Take some classes. Learn how to use Google analytics. Figure out what data is available to you and use it to your advantage. Prove your worth and you’ll always climb up the corporate ladder or have clients pounding on your door.

2. Learn how to use social media for stories and sources . From the communicator perspective, learn how to use social media to connect and build relationships with the journalists, bloggers, and influencers who can help your organization grow. Also, learn how to use social media for business development.

Another thing the communicator is really bad at: selling. Use social media to connect with organizations you’d like to work with. Get a list of prospects from your sales team and start building relationships. If you can get a sales person in the door because of your efforts, you will always have a job. Always.

3. Integration, integration, integration . Shirky talks about it from the perspective of working with other journalists who have specialties different than the others, but I look at it from the perspective of moving beyond text. Andy Crestodina has a great piece on content hubs, which is how you should think about your efforts. Writing a blog post on a specific topic? Where else can you use it? A white paper, a speech, a video, a podcast? Have an interview with a major trade publication? How else can you use that content? Perhaps a behind-the-scenes video you took during the interview or a FAQ on the website of what landed on the cutting room floor. We have to think beyond one tactic and integrate the PESO model.

While it’s journalists who are fearful of their jobs right now, communicators should consider their skill sets so our industry doesn’t follow suit.

If you figure out how to prove your work drives revenue, you’ll have a seat at the table and become an asset instead of a liability.

What do you think of these three points and what else would you add?

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. A version of this post first appeared on her blog, Spin Sucks.


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Conference alert: The event every health care communicator must attend


Health care communicators face different challenges than their peers in other industries. This conference covers PR, marketing and social media issues tailored specifically for those in health care.

By Ragan Staff | Posted: June 10, 2014

Health care communicators face significantly different challenges than communicators in other industries. Health care communicators must comply with HIPAA regulations, protect patient privacy and discuss highly sensitive issues, among other challenges.

Health care communicators need a marketing, PR and social media conference specifically for them, and Ragan Communications has one.

Join us Oct. 21-23 at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for our 6th Annual Health Care Social Media Summit.

You’ll hear from and speak with communications experts from the nation’s top health care and communications organizations, including professionals from the American Heart Association, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Mayo Clinic and more.

Learn more about the conference.

If you only attend one conference this year, this is the one you need to attend.

You can choose from three tracks to customize the event to your needs:

Here is just a sample of what the conference will cover:

  • How to create a successful social media program that complies with HIPAA.
  • How to prove social media’s value to senior leaders.
  • How to work with the legal, compliance and risk management teams at your organization.
  • How to measure your internal communications efforts.
  • How to respond to patients on social media while staying compliant with the law.
  • How to use brand journalism to promote your organization.
  • How to attract national media coverage.
  • And much more.

This event will sell out. Don’t miss the opportunity to attend! Register today.

Plus, if you sign up before Friday, June 13, you’ll save $ 300 on the registration price.

What are you waiting for? Register here.  

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