How to Succeed in the Modern Communications Landscape

Leslie Stefanik, Vice President, Marketing, PublicRelay

The world of communications is changing radically. PR Pros are jacks of all trades – expected to know and do more and more. Meanwhile, the amount of data they’re surrounded by increases daily, which can be a double-edged sword. How can the modern communicator make sense of and leverage this data to stay ahead of the pack rather than become buried under it?

We recently hosted a webcast with CommPRO to hear success stories and advice from top communicators, and their answer to this pressing question was threefold: use the right data, tell the right story, and explain it the right way.

How to Succeed in the Modern Communications LandscapeThe Right Data

When you’re making a report, are you pulling the right actionable data, or are you just trying to use what’s available? According to Allyson Hugely, this is an important distinction. You need to understand what the client wants so you get the information they need. There is absolutely no shortage of data available to everyone, but the modern communicator needs to be able to pull only the most useful insights out of the pile.

It is all well and good to be able to tell your CEO about how much you’ve increased your impressions, how large your digital footprint has grown, or how many conversations you’ve started around your brand. But do these numbers mean anything? Do they translate to your business goals? Ask yourself the hard questions about the data you’re presenting, you’ll come out with a stronger conclusion.

The Right Story

The primary goal of communicators is to tell stories. While the information available may have changed in the modern era, this core truth has remained: the best communicators tell great stories. Stories backed by data and insights, with the intent of moving, inspiring, or changing the audience.

The important thing to remember here is to stay grounded and remember the human side of communications. Asking good questions of your audience and listening effectively lets you truly understand what people want. This will help you create content that will resonate best with the audience you care about the most.

The Right Way

The final skill our panelists identified ties the previous two together: business sense. The most successful communications professionals can demonstrate their business impact to the CEO, CFO, head of legal, etc. in the terms that they understand best. Effective communicators not only have creativity and great new ideas, they can demonstrate the impact of those ideas with data and measurement. Taking that extra step is what differentiates the good communicators from the best.

The modern communicator is in a golden age. We have access to an incredible amount of data to tell an unlimited amount of stories. We have the potential to do an innumerable amount of jobs, but the key thing to remain cognizant of is staying human. Talk to people in the language they’re familiar with, ask them questions to understand what they actually want, tell a story they care about, and when it comes to all that data – apply context and understanding of the business to determine what is relevant and leverage it effectively.

If you would like to hear more specifics on these topics and more, I’d recommend watching the full webinar here.


About the Author: Having worked on both the agency and industry sides of marketing and communications, Leslie brings extensive corporate communications, branding and demand generation practice and understanding to the team at PublicRelay. Formerly the VP of Digital Marketing for Optymyze, Leslie holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Marketing from Youngstown State University.

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