More than half of UK workers plan to make changes to their careers in the next 12 months as a direct result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Employees have realised the benefits of a more flexible work environment brought on by working from home initiatives, and the communications sector (especially marketing, content marketing, and PR) has seen huge shifts. And we’ve seen this change in our own agency – Isoline has onboarded three additional team members over the last year.
With so much disruption to the status quo, and suggestions that a ‘new norm’ will take hold once the pandemic is firmly behind us, let’s consider what the communicators of the future will look like and how business can facilitate and drive growth.
The Future Communicators
Everyone who’s done an interview for a junior, senior account handler or in-house PR/ marketing person looks for a match with overt – as well as their own ‘hidden’ – criteria. This might be boldness, creativity, a passion for technology, the ability to think fast, aside from the more traditional writing skills and so on.
As a content marketing agency in the tech B2B space, our interview process has to be stringent. Not only must candidates demonstrate solid writing skills across a variety of mediums, they must also have a firm grasp on the latest technology trends – and this is the same for entry and senior level positions. Finding the right person to fill any vacant job is a challenge, and we consider these traits as a baseline for our candidates.
But what other characteristics are indispensable for a communications professional…..
In 2018, Isoline attended Paul Holmes’ talk on Future Communicators – we’ve included our key takeaways from the event below.
Another interesting part of Paul Holmes’ talk at the Future Communicators event was the four traits he considered indispensable for a PR/ communications professional, which are still applicable in 2021 – he hit the nail on the head there and we completely agree with all four!
At its very core, to be compassionate is to have the motivation to assist others. This is all part of the role for any communicator; we are the middle men and women between the general public/ media and the companies we work for. Often, you will have to bring the voice of the stakeholder into the room – and this room, in today’s crisis-prone era, might be the boardroom. Don’t get carried away by the legal, financial or operational point of view, and stay compassionate to the stakeholder without a voice.
This one is particularly important. It will often fall to you to be the person who tells the CEO what he or she does not want to hear. It’s always a daunting prospect but it’s key to remember that this is for the good of their business, which is top priority for all parties involved. You might need to remind senior management of the relationship implications of corporate decisions or actions that will be impacted if they do/ don’t do or say something in particular. So, be courageous: it is your job, and it is within your paygrade.
Curiosity did not kill the cat. Seeking and absorbing new information, wisdom and innovative ideas from a wide range of sources like a sponge is a well sought-after characteristic of anyone in the communications space. Albert Einstein once said “once you stop learning, your start dying”. Being in a constant state of learning – whether that’s by sifting through reports and case studies on 5G applications or joining an online course on digital transformation – continuous education is key to keeping pace with emerging and changing trends within any industry, especially the technology space. Also, never reject anything just because it’s new: that’s the very reason to try it out and be excited about it.
To be honest, this should be integrity but we wanted one that started with a ‘c’. Be 100% truthful and honest, especially in this day and age where ‘fake news’ has become such a big part of our everyday lives. We had a shocking instance as an agency recently – two members of the sales team at one of our clients said that they understood ‘marketing’ meant lying. It’s an unfortunate and all-too-common parallel to be drawn upon but… No, marketing does not mean lying. And it’s down to all of us to give communications its credibility back.
The road to prosperity
Like we mentioned earlier, we all have our own valuable check-lists when it comes to ourselves as communications professionals and when we’re looking for like-minded individuals to join us. The four traits we’ve mentioned above are a great place to start, and will help both yourself and new members to your team grow and prosper. Supporting and driving career growth and encouraging new ways of learning are key to start engaging at more and more strategic levels in our careers.
If you’re looking to jump into your next career adventure and think you have what it takes to become the next Paul Holmes, get in touch at: [email protected] to learn why content marketing might be the industry for you.