This is a crazy, roller-coaster of a profession. Though I’ve only just begun my career in the last year, I’ve delved into corporate communications, agency work, freelance, the world of publicity, and now nonprofit PR.
The job of public relations is definitely fascinating, and continues to grow as more and more people are choosing it for their career path. College students all over the world are seeing the benefits of choosing this profession, though some are honestly in it just to jump on the social media bandwagon, but let’s be real. PR is about so much more than just social media.
What is Public Relations? This is a question I hear often, though I’m confident most people who ask me already know. We are in the business of creating and maintaining good relationships with the publics of whatever organization we are working for. It’s advocacy but with a clear focus.
Yes, people confuse it with advertising and marketing all of the time, though the three are actually more integrated than you might realize. Still, there is one thing that definitely separates the profession from so many others, including it’s “cousins” of advertising and marketing. It’s the one thing that PR should always boil down to.
PR is about showing love and reacting to how it is reciprocated. We craft relationships and images out of love for our constituents: the government, investors, our own employees, and of course, the consumers of our brand.
“But Jon,” my internal conscious says as I write this, “PR really boils down to making your company look good no matter what. It’s about saving a company money and creating good press, not love!”
This is my internal reaction to the idea that PR should boil down to love. Being in the business for a short while, I’ve seen the bad side of how PR is used just as much as I’ve seen the good. That said, I’ve seen the success of PR versus the failure of PR and that leads me to the conclusion that PR needs to boil down to love.
I believe this not based on how the profession has been judged and seen by others in the past. I believe this not based on what I want out of the profession.
I believe that PR is about love based on everything I have experienced up to this point in my career.
Yes, we write press releases, measure ROI, pester journalists and do whatever we can to increase the bottom-line for our organization. That’s the reality of our lives in PR. Everything we do, whether we do it in love or not, has to be sustainable.
All of these things, however, are just goals. They’re what’s necessary to achieve the vision of whatever organization we are a part of.
To truly find success in PR, the message has to be sent in love. It has to respond to the needs of whomever is affected. Sure, a PR professional can’t please everyone. What may be good for consumers is not necessarily good for stockholders. Not every consumer is going to like a new policy change or maybe something as simple as a new logo.
It’s the PR pro’s job to maintain balance between these opinions and concerns, constantly using two-way communication, that yes, social media has allowed us to foster better than ever before.
Is there dishonesty in the profession? Absolutely, but that’s because there are dishonest people. The good PR pros know that shortcuts and coverups are the most impractical options for how to deal with crises. This is why you will often see companies owning up to their mistakes and making them right. You know that a good PR team is behind those decisions.
PR goes by a set of rules very similar to how we operate as people. You have to show love. To your customers, to your employees, and to your partners. When an organization operates by this creed, they will find success in PR.
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