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Top Skills for Future PR Success

PR Has Never Been More Important

Some believe public relations has seen its best days. In fact, in a recent study, more than 70% of PR pros don’t think the term public relations as defined today will describe the work they will be doing in 5 years (Source: State of PR 2021, PR WEEK).

Top Skills for Future PR SuccessIn my mind, the goal of public relations is to relate with the public, not just journalists and media. It’s easy to get caught up in the glam of media relations, but the best PR works toward public impressions. While some may believe that PR is getting a smaller role in this digital age, I believe PR is deeper and wider than it has ever been. Today there is just more media and it is more complex. There are news aggregators such as Apple News. There is the rise of the data journalists such as eMarketer, Statista, Pew Research and Marketing Charts.

The biggest change is the need to go directly to the consumer or audience. Experiential PR, list development, profile panels, message houses…the list goes on and on. There is also the fact that consumers have a lot of control and many vehicles to talk directly with businesses, nonprofits and audiences. In other words, don’t make someone with 5,000 Facebook friends unhappy.

The need for PR has never been greater. Realizing that need before a communications catastrophe is the real hard part of PR. No matter what you call it, PR is more than a crisis tool. It is a planning tool, to help you mitigate future issues. That’s why the research found that strategic planning was the number one skill for future success.

Mark Mathis III is chief creative & strategy officer, partner and cofounder of AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising.

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Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle.

With that kind of experience, after working at KWWL for 12 years, Mark became one of the founding partners of ME&V and, subsequently, AMPERAGE. Today, he leads the AMPERAGE creative teams, including video production, graphic design, public relations, writing and web development.

He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.”

Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.”

One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College.

Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board.

Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.