At Prowly, education is one of our core values. We’re all about educating oneself and the industry. The word development itself, skill enhancement, is something that genuinely stimulates us to act. During our recent pre-Christmas meeting at the office, we came to the conclusion that we want to gather as much knowledge as possible as far as the concept of customer experience is concerned. I’m curious about what kinds of challenges other people who are dealing with communication wish to take up in this area. In this article, I asked about the skills that are likely to drive them forward and help them put their job, the industry, and life in perspective and look at these concepts with a mature eye without fearing they won’t be ready for 2021. It is my undisguised pleasure to share with you all these comments from:
- James Murray
- Iliyana Stareva
- Jan Barbosa
- Tracy Vides
- Alexa Lemzy
- Amanda Sparks
James Murray, Outreach & Content Executive, Affinity Agency
The skill I would most like to focus on in 2021 is understanding. And not just in the practical sense.
People are different. The opinions they hold and the way they see the world can’t be captured in a few well-crafted customer personas; they’re more complicated than that. And as marketing moves towards automation and greater use of AI and chatbots, I think it’s important we don’t forget about the people we’re actually talking to.
The democratising effect of the internet has permanently changed the flow of information. People have greater access to news and information than ever before, and this is changing the way they see the world. Consumers are now more aware of social justice and issues surrounding transparency and privacy, and the things that lead them to buy a product or connect with a brand are evolving too.
Developing a greater understanding of these key concepts is going to be crucial in 2021. Being more understanding also means you’re more likely to realise what clients are looking for in their marketing campaigns and allow you to work more effectively with co-workers.
Iliyana Stareva, Success Program Manager, Cisco
In 2021, I’d like to focus on the holistic understanding of digital for business. If you work in PR or marketing, you think of digital just as your communication and social media efforts, but it’s so much more. Digital transformation is a popular buzzword and it encompasses areas throughout a company. That’s what I’d like to dig into more in 2021 and understand how digital can enable a company to grow from all aspects not just PR and marketing.
Jan Barbosa, Global Brand Ambassador BeBee.com
For 2021, the most important skill I will focus on to succeed will be to stand before a camera and deliver content in a natural, coherent and eloquent way.
Have you tried talking to the camera yet? For some people, holding a smartphone and recording themselves in a candid and natural way is a gift they are born with, but for others, it is a record, revise, erase and record again dilemma until the product is acceptable enough for mass distribution.
We, humans, are visual creatures and it is no surprise that video content in all platforms gets double, triple and even ten times more engagement than similar written content without video.
Just as a historical note, one hundred years ago media faced a similar revolution when silent movies transitioned into “talkies”, a time of fast disruption, where many silent film icons that failed to adapt and reinvent themselves simply evaporated from the Hollywood screens.
Back to the present, statistics show that video consumption can rise up to one hundred percent per year; just open your favorite social platform for proof of how marketers who have wholeheartedly embraced it, like Gary Vaynerchuk and Virginia Salas Kastilio can command huge audiences and immense amounts of engagement at a global scale.
There is simply no doubt that in these times, it is not enough to be an expert in your profession but to also show it to the world and video is the perfect way to reach your current and potential target market.
So get the smartphone ready and start recording yourself, disruption is coming and we should not stay behind.
Tracy Vides, Branded Content Strategist, Freelancer
When I talk to my peers in the content marketing and digital PR industry, the single most important skill they wish to develop is to make sense of the advances in AI and other technologies that enable us to make sense of data that is available to us. While I consider data analytics to be a critical skill any marketer must possess, for me, instant decision-making based on customer behavior, regulatory action, competitors’ tactics, or other changes in the market is paramount.
In the digital PR business, brands have little to no time to react. And every moment that they lose, they are ceding control of their brand message to external actors such as customers and competitors. No tool, method, or dataset will give you the ability to take the right decision at crunch time; however, the more information you have, the better it will turn out to be! This is something I’d really like to be better at, because no matter how good I am at developing and executing marketing campaigns, it’s the little tweaks in strategy and tactics (in response to changing circumstances) that make the difference between success and failure.
Alexa Lemzy, Customer Support & Content Manager at TextMagic
In 2021, I want to focus on my skills for connecting and building relationships with customers. This will always be an incredibly important aspect of marketing. While some companies are substituting their individuality and personal touch with AI and chatbots, I want to make sure I continue to provide outstanding customer support by building relationships and taking a personal approach to each customer’s needs.
On top of making sure our customers know they are valued, constantly developing my communication skills is vital for understanding what they need and how to improve our service. Being able to develop relationships with customers from different cultural backgrounds across the globe is important for any online business with international clients.
The communication tools and technology that enable us to communicate with customers effectively in order to deliver an outstanding service are constantly evolving. I want to make sure I learn about the latest developments and tools to improve client communication.
I also want to focus on optimizing content marketing for voice searches. Thanks to virtual and home assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Home, more and more people are searching for content using voice. This means a significant increase in conversational search terms containing complete sentences or questions. Optimizing content for this new way to search will only become more important as the technology becomes more widely adopted.
Amanda Sparks, writer, researcher and blogger
Social media is a powerful channel for communication despite all the controversies around Facebook and YouTube which occurred during 2019. I’m sure there’s still untapped potential in how brands use social media and there’s a lot we can improve in this field to deliver better communication experience to our audience.
I’m planning on digging deeper into the social channels that have grown this year and will be relevant in the next year. I’m talking about YouTube, TikTok, Twitch, Reddit, Twitter, Discord, Instagram. Each of these channels offers many new opportunities to reach a new audience and present businesses and organizations from a new point of view. So I’m going to focus on learning about the types of content that perform well on each of these platforms and delivering new experiences for readers and viewers across different channels.
Improving technical skills is another field I’m going to focus on in 2021. The rise of omnichannel communications and automation software creates great opportunities for companies and organizations in designing personalized seamless experiences for the audience and delegating some of the day-to-day tasks to computers. I think 2021 will be a perfect time to become better at it.