Insights

Earning Respect for Public Relations Pros

Lately I’ve been wondering if those of us in the public relations industry are ever really going to do the things necessary to earn the respect most people in this business deserve. Sure, there are plenty of PR hacks out there. But as with every industry, for every one of those, there are dozens of knowledgeable, experienced, ethical and talented PR pros.

 

So, how do those of us who care about things—like respect for our chosen profession—go about making that a reality? Good question!

 

Here are some thoughts to consider:

8 Tips to Success in PR

These 8 tips to succeeding in PR are about more than writing well or liking to work with people—public relations is really all about selling. And it’s also about solving problems, understanding your clients’ businesses and many, many other things.

 

One of the reasons I opted to get a degree in public relations (and yes, it is a Bachelor of Science degree) is because I didn’t want to follow in my successful father’s footsteps.

SharedViews: Respect for Public Relations?

I’m sharing some of the items I’ve been reading while wondering if those of us in public relations are ever really going to do the things necessary to get the respect most people in this business deserve.

I’ve said that I don’t think we need a new definition of what we do, but you should check out what Harold Burson, co-founder of Burson Marstellar had to say a year before the new definition was revealed and just after:

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Change signChanging the perception of the public relations industry requires more than a new definition. That shouldn’t be news to anyone. Just saying something will not make it a reality. Smoke and mirrors won’t change anything.

What’s interesting is this is not a new conversation or problem. It’s been going on since before I earned my Bachelor’s in PR way back when. It’s about much more than being able to tell people what you do for a living. There’s a fundamental lack of respect for PR practitioners in the public view, and a lot of it has to do with the vagaries of the compensation model.

Shared Views: Fishing, Purpose and Food

Montana LandscapeHere’s a view I’m looking forward to seeing again this summer. This is near Alder, Montana, in the southwest part of the state. It will be my fourth trip to fly fish at Upper Canyon Outfitters, and I can’t wait. The fishing has always been great on the Ruby River. Even better, the people are just wonderful, so it’s like visiting friends.

This year promises to be extra special, too. The original plan was to go with a very good friend and his father. Now, my brother who has joined me on every other trip is coming along. And, as a bonus, we’re bringing his two sons back for their second trip. It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years since we all got together out there, but the last time was when I took everyone there to celebrate my 50th birthday.

3 Ways to Prevent PR Disasters

Today’s guest post is written by Jenifer Olson.

I felt kind of sorry for the McDonald’s social media director who unleashed a backlash of negative press with the #McDStories hashtag promotion last month, as shared in this Mashable post. During my more than 20 years in marketing communications and PR, I’ve found experience can be a strong, if harsh, teacher.

That got me thinking about some of my most important communications lessons over the years and these three seem relevant to the McDonald’s issue:

Shared Views: PR, Personal Data & Culture

Southwest VistaThis is the view of San Francisco from the Vista Park just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. I took this one at about 6:30 a.m. on my way back home after picking up a friend at the airport.  It’s the only time I’ve pulled into that tourist parking area and I’d have missed this great scene if my friend hadn’t asked to stop. I guess I drive past this view so often that I was forgetting to stop and enjoy what a beautiful place I live in. I’m working on fixing that mistake by paying closer attention to what’s around me.

With that, here are some other views that got my attention this week:

Privacy Issues

Private Property SignRecent privacy issues have created a bit of a quandary out there for communications professionals. Targeting the right people, knowing how, when and where to reach them, is as close to the Holy Grail as it gets for our business. This isn’t anything new.

What’s different is that today more people then ever volunteer intimate details about their lives to all their friends online, if not the whole world. So, it’s no surprise companies are looking to make money on this information by selling it to people like us who want to sell things to other people.

Sometimes noise is just that…

Illustration of NoiseWatching recent Internet backlash and organizations reacting to it is fascinating. The volume is certainly up higher on people’s reaction to your decisions. While that may be a good thing in some ways it can also lead to some big mistakes, like changing an organization’s decision when the one they’ve made is the right one for its future. If you’ve done it right then you should be able to support and stand behind major decisions.

First and foremost, leaders and organizations need to remember that pleasing all the people all the time is neither possible nor a viable goal. There are going to be people who disagree just because disagreeing makes them happy. Stop trying to please everyone and focus on earning support from the people who matter most to your success.

It’s About People!

Audience Listening to Musical ActI detest words like “publics, audiences, markets, influencers and opinion leaders,” and I especially dislike “stakeholders.” We all know what the terms mean, but I worry they make us forget we’re communicating with human beings. Sure, we are talking about groups of people with similar interests and issues, but we’re still talking about people.

Communications is about convincing people who are motivated by the same things that motivate us.