When #FuturePRoof landed in the Autumn of last year, it heralded something new for the communications industry. It was the first (to my knowledge) crowdsourced book about public relations, incorporating 33 essays from leading practitioners focused on one common theme: the modern value of public relations. It was bold and it was a great success, with over 2500 downloads and hard copy sales.
Today, #FuturePRoof: Edition Two is launched. And it drives the conversations started in the original book to a new level.
#FuturePRoof: Public Relations as a Management Discipline
Devised, curated, edited and published by Sarah Hall, the new book is aimed at “asserting PR as a management discipline and demonstrating its value to organisational success”. And having been fortunate enough not only to contribute a chapter, but also to have read an advance copy, I can categorically say that it does just that.
The 39 essays contained within #FuturePRoof: Edition Two cover a wide range of topical issues, from influencer relations, digital tools and agile strategy to managing client relationships and expectations, and leadership and employee engagement.
Given the recent ‘non-factual’ campaigning around Brexit (ahem…), there are highly topical debates about ethics. And, among others, there are tips on evaluation, keeping up with technology, SEO and video.
All from highly respected and knowledgeable individuals.
Technology, Clients and Practitioners
For me, there are three distinct areas that the new book covers. The first is that of technological innovation and the evolution of the media. Over half of the submitted essays cover the relentless march of technology and how PR practitioners should and are adapting in order to rise to the challenge.
The second area is client management, linking heavily back to PR as a management discipline and looking at topics such as client relationships, procurement, business integration and corporate strategy.
The final area is that of practitioners themselves. Us. The industry faces many challenges when it comes to its people and what they are employed for, some due to factors like technology but many historic. And so #FuturePRoof: Edition Two looks at factors such as continuous professional development, employee engagement, the skills gap, salaries and leadership.
Mental Health in PR
It is in the latter area that my own essay sits. I’m almost as passionate about the mental health issue in the communications industry as I am about the social media strategies of my clients, and so Chapter 25 looks at company culture and presents an action plan to manage stress, anxiety and presenteeism.
Directly off the back of this, I am launching a consultancy service for communications agencies to help them to implement a best practice approach to mental health support, which you can read more about here.
A Call to Arms
If Edition One was a wake up call for the public relations industry, #FuturePRoof: Edition Two represents a definitive call to arms.
With the full support of luminaries like Stephen Waddington, Sarah Hall is on a one woman crusade to drag communications practitioners into 2016 and to start looking forward to what’s coming.
“The public relations fight back starts here and now”, she says.
“Professionals want to close their competency gaps in order to provide strategic advice at management level…[and the] industry is waking up to the fact that if we are truly guiding organisational strategy, it is common sense that other disciplines answer to us within the corporate hierarchy.”
Bravo. Such powerful rhetoric bodes well for a role as President of the CIPR should she win the upcoming election. You can read her manifesto here.