In my personal reflections on 2011 blog post I promised/threatened to write a post about my professional plans and hopes for 2012. If 2011 was the year that I decided to pursue a portfolio career, then 2012 will have to be the year that brings it all together.
Client / PR agency online PR and social media doctor
One consistent message that I’m hearing from in-house corporate communications and public relations professionals is that they recognise the importance of online PR and social media, but are reluctant to add yet more consultancies and agencies to their existing roster. What they’d really like is that their existing corporate PR consultancy, marketing PR agency, public affairs consultancy or financial PR agency be able to properly integrate and deliver online PR and social media as well as the specialist social media and online PR agencies do it. Unfortunately, far too often their existing agencies and consultancies let them down. They all claim to offer the same things as the specialists, but in reality are still too short of real experience and expertise.
That is where there is an opportunity for me. I want to work closely with clients to act as a bridge and facilitator for their existing PR agencies to help them deliver the quality of social media and online PR strategy the clients need.
The benefit for the client is that they can continue to use their existing trusted partners, but can now ensure that online PR and social media is properly integrated into the overall communications strategy at a quality that is up there with the best of the specialists.
The benefit for the agencies and consultancies is that they get to retain and possibly even increase their fees with an existing client that they already have a good working relationship with, while eliminating the threat of a new agency coming in.
Online PR training and social media training
I’ve already delivered a few and social media training courses since leaving Wolfstar, both directly and through third parties. I’m very keen to do more of this as it is very satisfying to be able to share knowledge and experience and see more people benefitting from it. It is also good to be able to puncture some of the hype and myths that still surround social media and online PR. It isn’t rocket science and should be a core part of every single public relations professional’s core skills. Unfortunately at the moment it isn’t. In 2012 I’d like to play my own small part in changing that.
I’ve have a couple of discussions with people about joining their boards as a non-executive director. Neither opportunity was quite right for me, but it has sparked me into thinking about it and I’m keen to do a couple of different non-exec positions.
The first is to join the board of a small and/or regional PR agency that is looking to grow and perhaps needs to bolster its online PR and social media capabilities.
The second is to join the board of a start-up, possibly in the tech or Web 2.0 space, but not necessarily.
Strategic communications consultancy and digital public affairs
I’m already talking to some corporate communications consultancies and digital agencies about providing some specialist support to their existing teams. Mostly this will be on the corporate communications and public affairs side as its far more interesting and challenging than simple marketing related public relations. I believe that digital public affairs is woefully underexploited at the moment and am keen to develop and implement some new ideas for how social media can be used to influence and shape public policy development.
While it is great to deliver training and share knowledge with existing practitioners looking to learn new skills, it would be even better to help students who are just starting out in the world of public relations.
So those are the paying gigs that I’m looking forward to doing more of this year (any opportunities gratefully received ), but I’m also keen to continue doing more voluntary, community, professional development and political work.
Public relations conference speaking
Last year I spoke at a number of great conferences including the United Nations Global Social Media and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Forum, the Future Digital Strategies Summit, Social Media in a Corporate Context in London and Amsterdam, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Social Media Conference, Reputation in Oil, Gas and Mining and Social Media Week.
This year I’ve already got tentative dates fixed up to speak at conferences in Dubai and London, but I’m keen to get some more conference speaking dates in the diary soon.
I’ve already found time to do more work for the Labour Party and am keen to expand on this in 2012. This will include continuing to do some work nationally and helping my wife locally.
Don’t be shy – get in touch
If you’d like to talk to me about any of the areas I’ve outlined then please get in touch by calling + 44 20 3239 1093, Skype stuartbrucepr, Twitter, email to stuart at stuartbruce dot biz or visiting my PR consultancy website.