UPDATED: Most PR people do not understand their audience

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By Mariah Young

A PR expert says understanding your audience is a key skill – but that many in the industry do not have it.

Liam FitzPatrick is former global head of internal communication at Marconi  and now works as managing partner at Working Communications Strategies.

He told Leeds Trinity University’s annual Journalism Week: “Whether you work as a journalist, in PR, advertising, lobbying, or any communications field, you have to have a deep fundamental understanding of the audience.

“This is a key skill that makes us valuable to others. It is interesting that this is a skill that most PR people don’t have.”

He added: “If you understand your audience you can actually communicate more efficiently.”

Liam also spoke at length about the importance of positivity when managing staff.

He said: “People need a narrative that’s positive, they need something they can hold on to. None of

us go to work and do our best work where we’re only motivated by money.

“What makes us want to work is a sense of purpose, the idea that the world is somehow

moved or changed by us dragging ourselves into the office in the morning.

“That’s probably one of the reasons why some of you are thinking about being journalists, deep

down you believe that somehow you’re making a difference in the world.

“As an employer you need to tap into that.”

Liam ended his speech with some advice for those looking to work in PR.

He said: “Make sure you understand that you’re going to be working with data, understand that you

need to come with evidence, because everyone else within a corporation turns up with a

spreadsheet, so why shouldn’t you.”

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