I am very excited and honored to have as a guest, the wonderful Deirdre Breakenridge.
Deirdre is one of the best PR professionals I had the pleasure to meet via social media. She is not only one of the best, but also a wonderful person I had the honor and pleasure to meet live when she visited Madrid, last year.
Deirdre was kind enough to share her thoughts and expertise with us. Thank you, Deirdre.
So, without further ado, please welcome Deirdre Breakenridge.
I recently read an interview you gave to Patrice Tanaka where you said you love teaching PR. How does teaching others help you learn?
Today, learning is both offline and online. In the online classroom especially, we have to be even more creative and collaborative to keep everyone’s attention.
At the same time, because students are ready to share ideas, whether it’s morning, noon or night, teachers engage and participate far beyond any “normal” classroom hours.
Not only are we sharing thoughts and perspectives in our virtual classroom environment, but also communities are naturally forming on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, where we can expand our thoughts on course topics and how they relate to what’s going on in the real world.
As a result, it’s these ongoing discussions that intensify the learning for everyone … including the educators.
I believe that when you’re teaching you’re also learning. The classroom is for everyone. We’re all students forging our way and uncovering new information together.
A piece of advice for anyone heading into the reality of PR?
If you are heading into PR, then you have to be ready to expand your communications and to work in new ways to support today’s businesses.
PR professionals have to be very flexible and adaptable when it comes to an organization’s communication strategies and the tactics to reach their audiences today.
There is no sitting back; you cannot be complacent.
Learning new technology, understanding different media channels and being able to accurately measure your PR outreach should become a natural part of what you do.
Because the media environment, technology and consumer behavior is constantly changing, you have to be 10 steps ahead.
Survival in PR means understanding how your audience prefers to receive news and information and most of all, how they want to engage with you.
In addition, as a PR professional, you’re stepping into the 24/7 news cycle, so you have to be constantly monitoring, guiding, interpreting and responding to the public.
The Internet and social media don’t rest. Handling the communication for an organization means being connected at all times, which is a new PR role and reality.
What would you like to change in the PR industry and think it can be accomplished this year?
Accountability, with measurement to demonstrate business impact … every year we get closer to a “standard.”
The issue we continue to face is the changing nature of business because of new technologies, consumer preferences and an often unpredictable media landscape that continues to evolve.
As a result, the bar is constantly being raised for PR professionals to prove the business case for PR.
However, many professionals are learning that there is a tremendous amount of performance data or analytics that show real PR value for organizations.
It is important for professionals to remember we are not isolated and working in a silo.
PR has to work with other areas of an organization (marketing, advertising, digital creatives, sales, customer service, etc.) and have access to additional datasets from these areas to show how PR exposure and relationship building is an important part of creating valuable business outcomes.
When all of the data is pieced together, there is a clearer picture of how PR drives results related to the financial buckets, including brand health, marketing optimization, revenue, customer satisfaction and productivity.
If PR can focus on the higher-level business objectives and use data to demonstrate value, then we will accomplish a great deal this year and every year despite, an ever-changing communication environment.
What’s next for Deirdre Breakenridge?
There is always something new on the horizon, which is why being a communication strategist helping business to navigate the media environment is so exciting.
I recently launched a podcast show Women Worldwide, which has made some great progress. In December 2014, I interviewed my first guest.
Today, after 50+ guest interviews, we are almost at 1,000,000 total downloads of the show.
The goal for Women Worldwide was to give women in business a voice and a platform. I wanted a podcast show that would share the stories of amazing professionals with incredible achievements and careers; stories that you don’t always hear through other media channels.
The women of Women Worldwide are natural born leaders, whether entrepreneurs, service professionals, corporate communicators, etc.
On the show, they also serve as educators who impart advice about challenges, and how to tackle tough obstacles.
We have grown very quickly building a large network of women who are interacting and learning together.
Women Worldwide will continue to the capture ideas, innovation and most of all tell the amazing adventures of guests who are happy to share their greatest achievements, as well their missteps that lead to powerful learning moments.