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PR & Python: Why all PRs can benefit from coding experience

Photo by Chris Ried on Unsplash

 

Public relations is no longer purely driven by press releases, opinion pieces, and media relations. We now live in a visual-driven, digital-first world where audiences are fragmenting, and ranking algorithms and artificial intelligence increasingly influence the news agenda. As our industry evolves, so too must the skills of the public relations practitioners who wish to remain valued strategic advisors with a seat at the table. In a world driven by algorithms, this means learning skills like coding – not something typically found in a PR consultant’s arsenal of tools. The more the offline world intersects with the online, the more we need to understand basic code and languages like Python and Ruby. Furthermore, coding opens up an entirely new world of possibilities and the ability to overcome a number of challenges all PRs face. It goes without saying that PR specialists are not a Swiss army knife of communications skills. As an industry, we should be more open-minded about what skills we need to learn to meet the challenges of a visual-driven and digital-first world. If you think you are out of depth now, Zuckerberg’s Metaverse will only speed up the transition. In this brave new digital world, data is king. Be it tweets, media coverage, website traffic or YouTube retention figures, insights to be found are everywhere. Without such insights, it is simply impossible to create an informed communications strategy that matches the right messages and channels with the appropriate audiences through the right medium. In this new world, the tried and tested tools like Excel simply can’t compete. Not only can coding help to replace such programmes, but with a bit of effort algorithms can be developed, which would automate, and more importantly, speed up the analysis of large volumes of data. As we look forward to 2022, the evolution of Public Relations will continue, and the lines between PR and Digital Marketeer will only continue to blur. Confronting this challenge, and adding value in a competitive marketplace means up-skilling and pushing boundaries. For those that inhabit the world of reputation management, data, and the data science skills that coding unlocks, opens up a smarter way of working. Given we already rely on tools, such as Brandwatch or even TikTok, that utilise machine learning and artificial intelligence, through coding we can gain a better understanding of how they work, and the potential crisis points caused by mishandling data or biased artificial intelligence algorithms. By capitalising on the technology available and designing our own tools tailored to provide the data and insights we want, we will be in a much better position to strategically advise our clients going forward.

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