Readying for the Upswing

Some PR consultants are facing challenging times. While there’s still lots of work to be had, in this environment clients occasionally slash their budgets mid-stream. Others are putting planned projects on hold for an indefinite period of time. When you get word of both of these happening from different clients on the same day (which happened to me this week!), there is a tendency to feel alarmed.

But there really is no need to panic. It’s always darkest before the dawn, and a little downtime can be a useful thing. If you find yourself with a lull, one of the best things to do is prepare for when the downtimes are over. And they will be over. Top CEOs and economists are stating that they expect businesses to feel relief this quarter, and predict that the labor market will ease by Q1 2010.

Does this mean these experts are necessarily right? Afraid not. But, it’s a great reminder that this period of relative difficulty we’re in currently will someday improve.

In fact, having been a consultant for nearly 15 years, my experience has shown that the environment for PR consulting typically picks up long before the job market recovers. New business initiatives may be started before a hiring freeze is lifted, or a PR agency gets a big new client before it feels comfortable hiring new staff. These are prime opportunities for PR consultants like us.

In the meantime, what areas of specialty would you like to cultivate? If you have a limited understanding of how social media could play into your clients’ strategies, now is the time to immerse yourself in learning about it. Do you find a particular vertical market of interest? Learn about the key issues that potential clients in that field are facing, and you’ll be ready when they come calling. And, of course: network, network, network.

What have you seen going on in the market lately? And what are you doing to ensure that when the drought is over, you’ll be there when the floodwaters rise?

Photo credit: cesarastudillo