When Protenus was first building its sales and marketing team, I joined as the Senior Marketing Manager. This meant shaping marketing initiatives to make Protenus more successful, and determining which priorities we should tackle first. As I was a “jack-of-all-trades,” I was working on everything from marketing strategy to trade show logistics to content that would elevate our brand within the healthcare industry.
In December of 2016, after the 80th press mention for the Breach Barometer, I realized the impact PR could have on our growing brand. So, I started to introduce myself to reporters that were covering privacy and security concerns within healthcare, long before I transitioned to fully work on these efforts. Within a few weeks, Protenus started to receive increased coverage in leading healthcare publications and we were quickly building relationships with influential thought leaders in our space. Our team quickly recognized the value of these efforts and I transitioned to exclusively focus on public relations efforts.
Transitioning to a new role has its learning curves. While I had over a decade of experience in marketing, I had to quickly get up to speed on all the intricacies of public relations. There are five skills I quickly developed as part of this transition.
I quickly found that getting to know reporters and thought leaders, on both a personal and professional level, goes a long way in cultivating great content. Developing these relationships provided unique content angles because I knew what these influencers found valuable and interesting. Relationships are a two-way street: it’s important to ensure you’re providing your connections with valuable resources as well, even when it’s not directly related to what you’re trying to accomplish.
I developed the confidence to speak on hot topics trending in healthcare. I realized that in order to speak confidently and effectively, I needed to ensure that I was listening as much as I was speaking on any given topic. The level of insight you can gather from simply listening to experts discuss topics they are passionate about is incredibly valuable. The ability to explain complex concepts in simple ways is important, as well as to tailor how you communicate. One explanation might resonate well with one audience, but might not work with another. The ability to recognize these nuances and adapt is critically important.
3. Creative thinking
When you (and everyone else in the industry) are vying for the same space, how do you set yourself apart? I found that the ability to think outside of the box, and take what I had learned from thought leaders (see, listening is important!), allowed me to identify new angles for content that would resonate more deeply with the intended audiences. Sitting back and looking creatively at what information is missing from the industry is important. I constantly ask myself what information isn’t available that would be useful — then our team finds a way to fill the gap.
In order to become an expert on a new topic very quickly, research is your best friend. It became important for me to stay up-to-date on the latest news, looking for trending topics in which the Protenus team could help guide important dialogue. In order to be successful, I needed to identify these topics well in advance, gaining the ability to evaluate and determine which ones would benefit from our experts weighing in. It’s important to have a grasp on which topics are resonating within healthcare so that we can always provide the most relevant resources to reporters and editors.
5. Strategic execution
I found the ability to meticulously plan for new product launches, conduct messaging exercises and media training, write and edit for news publication, and ensure my work continued to align with company goals imperative for success in my new role as Director of Public Relations. This required occasionally removing myself from my day-to-day responsibilities to brainstorm ideas and plan months ahead in order to ensure our strategic vision was achieved.
This was only possible because at the core of Protenus, our team encourages one another in personal and professional growth. This means that when I expressed the desire to fully pursue PR after recognizing the benefits this could bring to the team, I was encouraged to dive in. I was quickly given the resources to set myself up for success, including the necessary tools to increase efficiency, the ability to attend conferences to learn from others, and the encouragement to find mentors and meet with them routinely. As I continue to grow within Protenus, I know I have the full support to explore opportunities that not only grow the Protenus brand, but also that will continue to challenge and grow my professional skill set.