This blog post from me has been created from our latest podcast episode with my good friend Stephen Waddington, former President of the CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations). In this interview, we discussed his insights and experiences in the PR industry, which made for a fascinating chat.
As the President of the CIPR, Stephen Waddington (Wadds) has been at the forefront of the industry for 29 years, witnessing its evolution through various stages and guiding tons of professionals toward success.
In this interview, we explored Wadds’ personal journey in the PR industry, discussed the challenges faced by PR professionals, and dived into the future of the industry. Wadds shed light on the ever-changing landscape of public relations and provided advice for aspiring PR professionals.
Background and Journey in the PR Industry
His journey in the PR industry started over two decades ago. He shared how he initially stumbled upon PR and instantly fell in love with the dynamic nature of the profession despite getting a degree in electronics. Wadds’ early experiences in journalism gave him a unique perspective and helped him understand the importance of storytelling in PR.
He highlighted the transition from traditional media relations to a more integrated approach, incorporating digital platforms and influencer marketing. This evolution has forced all of us PR professionals to adapt and expand our skill sets to meet the changing needs of clients.
Challenges in the PR Industry
The PR industry is not without its challenges which readers of my blog will know all too well. Wadds discussed some of the common hurdles faced by PR professionals and how they can be overcome. One of the main challenges is the misconception and misunderstanding of what PR truly entails. Many people still associate PR with spin and manipulation, disregarding its strategic and ethical aspects.
Another challenge is the ever-increasing demand for immediate results.
The Future of PR
We have discussed it on almost every episode but as technology continues to advance, the PR industry must adapt and embrace new tools and platforms. Wadds shared his thoughts on the future of PR and the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in shaping the profession. While AI can automate certain tasks, he believes that the human element of PR, such as relationship-building and creativity, will always be essential. And I happen to agree with him.
He also discussed the growing importance of data and analytics in PR. With the ability to measure the impact and reach of PR campaigns, professionals can make data-driven decisions and demonstrate the value of their work.
Chris’ Key Takeaways
Throughout our interview, Wadds provided valuable insights and advice for PR professionals. Here are some of my key takeaways:
- Embrace storytelling: PR is all about crafting compelling narratives that resonate with audiences.
- Adapt to change: The PR landscape is constantly evolving, so professionals must be adaptable and embrace new technologies and strategies.
- Build genuine relationships: PR is built on trust and relationships, so invest time and effort in cultivating authentic connections with stakeholders.
- Educate clients: Help clients understand the PR process and manage their expectations to ensure a successful working relationship.
- Embrace data and analytics: Make use of data to measure the impact of PR campaigns and continuously improve strategies.
It was a pleasure to have Wadds actually up here in Leeds and our interview on Socially Unacceptable provided valuable insights into our small world of PR. As the President of the CIPR, his leadership and guidance have played a vital role in shaping the industry in recent years. I am sure his consultancy will go from strength to strength as he continues to look for ways to innovate in PR.
“PR is about reputation. Reputation is the sum of what you do, what you say, and what others say about you.” – Stephen Waddington