Unlike the age-old saying, in public relations being a jack of all trades can be a huge asset. Having a more holistic outlook that comes with being a generalist has actually made a master of many rather than a master of none in many PR careers. While specialization has its merits, there are key benefits to a generalist approach that often get overlooked.
Wearing Multiple Hats
The biggest benefit in being a jack of all trades is sheer versatility. Generalists are used to having to pick up new background knowledge quickly and can easily transition from topic to topic without constraints. Clients are rarely one-size-fits-all, and neither are their projects and goals. Being able to pull from a vast network of contacts and knowledge of various industries makes for more nimble campaigns and more rich storytelling.
Taking off the Blinders
While in-depth specialization can provide great insight for campaigns, it can also lead to a more siloed approach and can potentially leave out broader trends. This is another example of where jack of all trade generalists really provide a lot of strength. With a broad base of knowledge to pull from they’re able to identify opportunities and trends from a wider variety of areas. Weaving in themes from their broader base of client verticals, generalists are better able to position clients to speak to a greater cross-section of audiences. Generalists are able to easily weave in broad picture themes connecting the ideas from across sectors to strengthen client stories.
A Tag-Team Approach
There is, of course, a time and a place for specialists with in-depth knowledge and often they work best in a team alongside generalists. Working in tandem, those with broad-ranging knowledge can provide a holistic view utilizing the in-depth expertise of their more specialized colleagues. This “best of both worlds” strategy capitalizes on the strengths of both generalists and specialists, while negating their respective weaknesses. Having both types of experts on your team means you get the full picture – the specialists perfecting the details and the generalists making sure everything is aligned as a whole.
Do You Have a Jack in Your Deck?
Just as we prize a varied skill set, a varied knowledge background can have far-reaching benefits for clients. With the pervasive trend of hyper-specialization across industries it’s easy to get swept up and potentially miss out on the benefits of a more balanced perspective. But keeping in mind the ways that generalists can craft compelling, nuanced campaigns you’d be missing out not having a jack of all trades on your PR team.