01 Jun 2017

Independent PR: Is it going to be the next big trend in the industry?

Independent PR

With the world becoming connected and networked, organisations of any size and scale can attract the best talent from across the globe! Professionals too are turning to freelancing or becoming independent consultants for flexibility and opportunity to work on different projects while maintaining work-life balance. 

Gone are the days when companies had to staff the workplace with full-time employees. With continuous evolution of technology, new tools and channels of communications, the way we work has also evolved and the #FutureOfWork definitely doesn’t lie in a 9-5 job in my opinion.

A 2015 study by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers showed that freelancers made up 34% of the workforce in the US. And, according to workplace experts, this is expected to cross 50% in the next decade.

The global market for freelancers across industry verticals is worth $2-3 billion, of which India accounts for $1 billion, according to Truelancer data. It’s said that the global market has been growing at 14% a year for the past few years.

The Indian PR landscape is continuously evolving and digital media, technology has paved way for innovation and creativity in our communications approach. The new age PR or Social PR world, has of course given rise to many new skills and techniques to keep pace with the evolving industry!

PR professionals with 10-20 years of experience, either at the agency side/corporate have literally been burnt out with old traditional ways of operating and clients want to focus on business goals, not just the press mentions anymore. A new, fresh talent pool is required at various levels to continuously meet client expectations.

A lot of agencies have started to outsource the work that require niche Social PR skills or get independents on board on contractual basis who can perhaps help the company save some $$ too! Of course, in the meantime, agencies are training to up skill their current employees to stay relevant in the industry and provide strategic 360 degrees communication counsel to their clients.

There is a huge gap between supply and demand of digital marketers in India. A recent article in Times of India stated that the number of active candidates present for these roles is less than half the demand! 

Will it be right to say that Independent #PR is paving it’s way in the Indian market?

I believe, YES.

Soon enough in India, I foresee PR agencies/businesses getting comfortable with virtual teams which makes easier to find and hire perfect PR talent even if it is outside the geo area. 

Communications is multi-disciplined art and not restricted to only media relations. Social PR folks are required to fire on multiple fronts that includes content marketing, influencer marketing, social listening, storytelling, community management, measurement and engaging with all the stakeholders that resonate with the client.

The internet changed everything for PR. We could now go directly to the consumers, which means we have to master more channels for storytelling. While PR professionals are in the process of upskilling, the ones who have mastered new technologies and channels of communications, are much in demand by the agencies. I believe, a lot of PR / Marketing agencies will start teaming up with independent PR pros to capture 360 business.

Globally, independent PR professionals like working for different agencies for various projects which help boost their learning curve as well as gives them the flexibility to work however they like and from wherever they want.

While there is a movement towards independents, it will be interesting to see the network grow when independents start hiring other independents!

There is indeed a huge opportunity for independent PR ahead. Do you agree? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

This article first appeared on LinkedIn. To know more about this trend, read the #SocialPowWow chat with Nicole Jordan. 

TESTIMONIALS

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Ancita always came across as an eager learner and willing to go the extra mile. She's got good language and social media skills and uses these to her advantage. She was also dependable and I believe she would be a good asset in any organization. I wish her well for the future.

Rony Thomas, Head of Communications, Amazon

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Ankita supported us in connecting with the CMO community on social media in India - she is knowledgeable, articulate, prompt and superbly organized. She is fast to learn and agile to create business impact, which distinguishes her in the projects she works on.

Rajesh Kumar Jindal, Vice President, Head of Marketing, SAP

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Although Ancita was part of the PR team, she gradually started taking interest in digital communication which I believe is an apt field for her. She effectively used her communication skills learnt in PR to deliver results in digital media which is a much needed talent in the industry. We worked together on google maps and on a project called PMOAppContest chat where Ancita ably demonstrated her creative and storytelling skills. She defined the flow of the chat and was a key campaign owner. The initiative was a huge success in India. Ancita is committed, disciplined and a diligent person and I am sure she is a great asset to her team and her organization.

Abhilasha Padhy, Communications Manager, Google

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Ancita is a Star performer at Six Degrees. She takes initiative and has a ‘To Do’ attitude. This has reflected in her taking up the onus of focusing her skills on Digital within the firm during the last one year and even on her own through an initiative like the SocialPowWow. She has a strong understanding of developing engaging content for audiences to increase relevance for brands. We believe that she has great potential to develop as an integrated communications professional.

Rishi Seth, Group CEO, Cohn & Wolfe Six Degrees

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PR professional, blogger, digital enthusiast. Driven, hardworking and result oriented, Ankita is always game to take up new challenges. Energetic and efficient, trust her to get things done. With keen interest in digital marketing she has been involved in various integrated comms campaigns and delivered successfully.

Cijo Mathew, General Manager, 20:20 MSL

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Ancita is one of the most dependable people I have ever come across. She is diligent, attentive and sharp which makes her a great asset for the team as well as clients. Within few years in PR, Ancita managed to build great media relations and helped her team crack some of the best stories. She is a great team player

Priyank Dubey, Communications Lead, ESPN

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Ancita and I have been working closely for 4 years now & it has been an inspiring journey thus far. It has been amazing to see her transformation from an curious social media learner to a professional digital media expert. Her knack for the understanding the digital landscape is special. While she certainly is an expert in various aspects of digital marketing but her initiative "SocialPowWow" has been really impressive. Today it's one of the most popular Twitter chats in India. She is great human being, hard worker & thinker. Her infectious smile can be an asset in any work environment. Wishing her all the success in any endeavours she chooses for herself.

Nitin Bhatia, Managing Director, Meltwater

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A dedicated, smart and media savvy publicist. Her sound understanding about the real estate business and clarity of thought makes her a go-to person for all communication queries. Strong command over english language and a collaborative team player makes her a best fit for a challenging role. I highly recommend her for a profile that requires a go-getter, passionate, dedicated, knowledgeable and intelligent person.

Nikhil Savio Gutal, Deputy Manager, Marketing & Communication, Cushman & Wakefield

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Ankita was one of the most diligent and hardworking students in our batch. There's a lot to learn from her, esp. her sense of punctuality, sincerity and work efficiency. It really was a lot of fun being together in the same class during our post graduation programme. I wish her good luck for all her future endeavours.

Sayani Bagchi, Area Sales Manager, Britannia Industries Limited

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Ancita is an extremely dedicated resource and a great value add for an organization. Her attention to detail, intelligence and proactive approach has always delighted the people she works with and the clients she services. Ancita is absolutely great with digital media and gives creative, yet practical ideas. I wish her all the best for future!

Shreya Sabharwal, Vice President, Ernst & Young

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Ancita has been a valued colleague at Six Degrees. She's focused and dedicated at work and brings in fresh thinking and approaches to mandates that she's entrusted with. Equally importantly she's a stickler for details and micro-manages things till the work gets done!

Rahul Mishra, General Manager, Cohn & Wolfe India

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Ancita is a thorough professional who is particular about deadlines and quality of work. You can always bank upon Ancita on any work that is on her task list. A proactive individual who not only pushes herself but her team too.

Siddharth Kumar, Deputy General Manager, Cohn & Wolfe India

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Ancita is a thorough professional and absolutely meticulous with her work. She took a lead in Digital when it was the upcoming hottest trend and that is commendable. Always ready to pitch in with ideas on a campaign,love her energy. She is and will be an asset to any organization that she chooses to be associated with. It has been a pleasure working with her here.

Pooja Poddar Jain, Account Director, Cohn & Wolfe Six Degrees

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Ancita is very good in her craft of digital PR and comes with sound knowledge on digital. She is a great team player and has shown great capabilities to lead any team project. She is a great colleague, it has always been a pleasure to work with her and is very easy to work with.

Shalini Gunashekar, Associate Account Director, Cohn & Wolfe Six Degrees

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SocialPowWow chat is one of the most innovative conversations involving small businesses and thought leaders. Ancita deserves a lot of credit for being the go-getter in bringing everyone together.

Cheval John, Founder & CEO, VallanoMedia, LLC, Houston

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I'm impressed and inspired by Ancita Satija for creating an initiative as cool as SocialPowWow and making it a movement. How many young professionals go above and beyond to make a mark and leave a legacy? Ancita has set an example for others to follow. I am sure this weekly tweet chat will grow to become much more than just a chat.

Amith Prabhu, Founding Dean @SCoReInd, CoFounder @PRAXISInd & @PRomiseFdn

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SocialPowWow is one of those must attend twitter chats like #TwitterSmarter #Hootchat #MediaChat with vibrant, engaged communities discussing relevant & trending topics on social media and with a smart and friendly host like Ancita!

Zen Yinger, CEO, ZenSocial, North Carolina

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Congratulations #SocialPowWow for completing two years. You have always been amazing in getting interesting people to exchange views on interesting and relevant topics. You are the platform that brings out-of-the-box minds together across the globe in the world of clatter. Stay there with us -- as a friend, as a trend spotter, and stay relevant. Wishes for many more.

Sounak Mitra, Associate Editor @moneycontrolcom

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I had the pleasure of working with Ancita, during my time at Burson Cohn and Wolfe. Ancita is affable and very easy to work with - great qualities to have in a team mate! She's a dedicated employee whose positive spirit helps guide the team that she’s in. Her experience and knowledge in digital, from copywriting to social media strategies makes her an asset to any organisation.

Thimah Hameed, Vice President - Regional Digital Strategy Marketing Lead, DBS Bank