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The Art & Science of Public Relations - It Doesn't Have To Be Russian Roulette if You Don't Want It to Be

March 14, 2007 Article Start Page 1 of 2 Next

I have a confession to make. This series is going to have a conversational tone to it. I plan to be honest, forthright and pull no punches. I welcome all feedback, good or bad, and hope you enjoy this series.

What I may lack in “real world experience”, I more than make up for with intimate knowledge as I’m part of Generation Y and most likely part of your target demographic. Joey Reiman, CEO of BrightHouse, used to say the following:

"Before you can be creative, you must be courageous. Creativity is the destination, but courage is the journey."

I hope to inspire both courage and creativity once you are done this series. Now on with the article!

I work in a department that is global in presence. We have someone in every company and organization around the world, including the White House. However, we’re one of the most misunderstood areas of business next only to my friends in QA.

My fellow foot soldiers and I often toil away alone to get the job done and when things go wrong, we are often one of the first blamed (both internally and externally). When things go right, we are often last to get thanked. We’ve been called flacks, spin doctors, liars, and a host of names my mom wouldn’t want me saying. We may throw the party, but we are not the center of attention. Trust me, I know. We are, of course, talking about public relations, my friends.

I’m going to ask that you forget everything you know about public relations. Tuck it away, put it in a metal box, and chuck it out your window for the duration of this and future columns. I would like to paint you a picture of how public relations is changing and what the future might hold.

Public Relations

In essence, public relations is about opening the channels of communication between your organization and its various stakeholders, whether they are investors, the community, employees, government or users.

Public relations involves:

  1. Evaluation of public attitudes and opinions.
  2. Formulation and implementation of an organization's procedures and policy regarding communication with its public.
  3. Coordination of communication programs.
  4. Developing rapport and goodwill through a two way communication process.
  5. Fostering a positive relationship between an organization and its public constituents.

The above definition of what public relations is, is not what you would get if you asked most people what public relations was. We don’t have the greatest image, which is funny, as it’s our job to shape an image or idea for what a company is more then anything.

If you can achieve the above on a day-to-day bases, you are doing better then one could hope for, because public relations is as much of an art as it is a science. The times are changing and as public relations moves online, these definitions become more of a reality.

Online Public Relations

Online public relations is providing greater tools and opportunities that are equal to, or even eclipse, what is currently available today. You can now reach anyone in the world with an Internet connection in an instance. You can build communities around your product and increase your goodwill.

However, the public now has the same power if they feel you are not telling the truth. A message, good or bad, spreads fast on the Internet, and you don’t have the luxury to ignore or pretend it doesn’t exist anymore. For example, Sony’s fake PSP blog from late last year, which we will get into in our next column.

In this column, we are going into the different areas that online public relations cover. In future columns we’ll cover how to use these different areas, how to do it safely, bridging the gap between online and offline PR and lastly, what tools to use to track your messages once it’s out there.

Now before you read any further, I need you to read an ebook called The New Rules of PR for the both of us. Regardless of whether you are a public relations practitioner or the founder of your company, if you are sending out a press release you should read this ebook and use it to your advantage. It’s a competitive market out there and you’ll need every advantage you can get. Done? Good, lets move on.

Article Start Page 1 of 2 Next

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