As a committee member, seeing the execution of 18 months ofplanning for the PRSA 2010Michigan Conference couldn’t have been more rewarding.  Hundreds ofcommunications professionals attended this year’s conference, all eager tolearn about the evolution of the ever-changing world of public relations. 

The day started off with inspirational words from Ed Gordon,award-winning anchor, editor, host and broadcaster. In his keynote speech,Gordon shared stories of his illustrious career, but more importantly he sharedhis insights on the changes of media, staying relevant and the importance ofbelieving in oneself.

Although I am relatively young in my career as a PRprofessional, I have witnessed the changing landscape of media. Gordon sharedhis thoughts on how today’s reality TV, celebrity gossip intrigued culture haschanged the way even the local news reports. As PR professionals, clients’ newscompetes with ongoing Hollywood gossip, Tiger Woods affairs and, here inDetroit, the ongoing saga of Kwame Kilpatrick. The appetite for pop culture has infiltrated news media and presented a newchallenge to media on what to cover.  Simply stated, the audience dictateswhat the media covers and as long as viewer numbers support inserting popculture into news reports, it is going to continue. 

In order for media outlets to be relevant, they have adaptedto the demands of reporting on pop culture. This will continue to be achallenge for the PR industry as we fight to get clients coverage and competewith pop culture.

Journalists have been forced to adapt to stay relevant, andPR professionals have to do the same. In the words of Gordon, “we must becomemore than just sending out press releases” and make ourselves more relevant tothe media and to our clients. We need to consistently evolve and adapt, butthat doesn’t necessarily mean jumping on the bandwagon of every new trend.

Gordon said it well: “Follow the trends, but don’t betrendy.”  For example, while Twittermight be the hottest social media tool right now, we need to ask ourselves whatvalue it brings to our clients. We must invest the time to educate ourselves onemerging media, trends, etc., to remain the gold standard. Gordon’s messagevalidated the reason that so many professionals took time out of their busyschedules to attend the PRSA 2010 Michigan Conference. Each person in the roomwas there to learn, to grow and to invest in being relevant.

Throughout his keynote speech, Gordon was upbeat andinspirational, but his most motivational messages were delivered as he spokeabout the need to create our own brand and to believe in ourselves. Gordon encouraged attendees to believe in themselves and not to look forexternal validation.

If we don’t believe in ourselves, nobody else will either.In today’s economy, we as professionals need to bring what we offer to thetable at all times. Whether we are building our own personal brand or if we areselling what we are giving to our clients, it is not enough to say what can door what you have done. We have to prove it. Show your relevance!

— Deana Goodrich