Four keys to success for communicators in an era of convergence are to be curious, be flexible, be a generalist and learn to live “in the moment”. That was a take-away message for communicators  from Capitol Communicator’s Convergence in Communications Conference, held March 6.

Speakers and attendees came from New York, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Baltimore and the D.C. area to participate in the full-day event held at Artisphere in Arlington, Va.

The reoccurring conference theme from many of the 30-plus speakers was that we are in the midst of fundamental change and that communicators must learn to continually adapt to this new reality or, as one speaker said, risk becoming “a dinosaur”.

As an example of the changes facing communicators, social media and technology have created an environment where events unfold in the moment and that impacts everything from how organizations respond to a crisis to how they deal with the news media, which now operates on a 24/7 cycle and has equipment that allows a TV reporter to transmit “live” from your doorstep.

Meera Pal of WTOP told attendees about her career path, which showed the value of being flexible. Pal  started in public relations, the shifted to print journalism and now is a key player on the WTOP digital team.  And, WTOP, the highest-grossing radio station in the country, does not consider its competition limited to other radio stations;  rather, the station views every area news organization as competition.

Attendees attended in-depth sessions, in addition to those dealing with dealing with the media, that covered:

– Building and Maintaining Relationships with Digital Influencers
– First-touch, Last-touch – Who Gets Attribution? New Ways to Measure PR
– Moving to Mobile
– Content Convergence — How to optimize content for new and traditional PR
– Maximizing the Success of Your Video and Audio Content
– Beyond Convergence: The Collisions in the New Business World
– Is it PR or Marketing?
– Measuring Your Online Success
– Coping with a Crisis in a Social Media World
– Convergence in the Public Sector
– Media Training in Today’s News Environment
– The New Realities of Employee Engagement

The conference’s keynote speaker was Frank Eliason, Global Director of Social Media for Citi; formerly of Comcast, where he created Comcast Cares. In 2013, Frank was named one of the 25 top innovators in PR by the Holmes Report.  (A photo of his session at the conference is above.)

Given the onslaught of constant change, being curious is the key to success while being complacent is the route to stagnation.  Or,, as one presenter said, “Today’s know-it-all will not be a know-it-all tomorrow.”

 

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