Not So Favorite Question! What is PR anyway?

I often get some variation of this question: What does a PR person do? What is PR? How is PR different from Advertising?

Generally, I want to tell the person to google it and figure it out themselves, but, I am after all in PR, so I smile and patiently answer the question in detail. Enthusiastically even, so that maybe, just maybe, they’ll tell two friends, and they’ll tell two friends… until finally everyone in the world understands PR. (Pretty low on the list of global crisis, I know, but it would be one tiny baby step towards utopia).

PR is about Influence. Engagement. Communication. Relationships. Presence. Leadership. Community. Branding.

Every organization has stakeholders, customers, clients, citizens, communities that they serve, woo, control or interact with in some way. You need a plan to communicate with those people or groups and to gauge their opinions, thoughts, habits, buying patterns, feelings, etc. A PR campaign connects the organization with the stakeholder and builds a relationship that provides a way to share information back and forth.

Public relations can help you engage your customers, influence lawmakers or regulators, strengthen community support, communicate with the media, tell your customers about your product or services and open communication for the public, media & customers to share their opinions about your organization, company, products, services.

PR professionals provide a variety of services, either as employees, freelance consultants or as stand-alone agencies – anything from a holding news conferences to planning a community event, to writing a newsletter, to pulling a stunt in Central Park to create awareness of an issue.

Social networking is a new component of PR, but most online programs are just updated versions of pre-internet programs, so new media or not, it’s still PR. PR pros provide information in various formats; plan and participate in events; write letters, speeches, and opinion pieces; coach executives; source stories for media; respond to the press; reach out to elected officials; start grassroots organizations and associations; market products; and interact with customers.

Plus a bunch of other things! So next time someone asks what we do, I think I’ll tell them to google my blog!

Are email newsletters still effective?

Yes, email newsletters still have a place in a company’s marketing portfolio. With all the ways we have to communicate with our clients and customers, sending out regular email newsletters is still a good investment. Clients and customers will self-select their favorite or most convenient methods of communication, so for an organization to rule one out would be foolish, especially one as effective as email.  Continue reading “Are email newsletters still effective?”

The Myth of the PR Rolodex

RolodexI am often contacted by people who either want to hire me or they have questions about the process of hiring a public relations person. There are usually many questions, but the one that gets me rattled and moves the conversation from a Q & A to a lecture is the inevitable question about wanting to find the person with the “golden Rolodex.” Continue reading “The Myth of the PR Rolodex”

Maturity in Marketing

hammerI have been dealing with and thinking a lot about mature companies versus immature companies. This is important stuff to know if you are an investor or financial type, but it is also important in marketing. Like a teenager, an immature company leaps before it looks, overestimates its contribution, stumbles over the smallest inconveniences, dreams big but does not support the dreams with research and fact finding, develops poor or lazy habits that will affect them later in their growth and generally needs more hand holding than their overdeveloped egos allow them to accept. Continue reading “Maturity in Marketing”

Six Steps to Creating a PR Plan

Steps to building a PR planIf you have been here before, you know that a well planned public relations campaign is far more effective than advertising. Not a surprising statement, considering the fact that I get paid for creating public relations plans. PR is so important to the success of an organization, I want everyone to understand how easy it can be to plan properly. Continue reading “Six Steps to Creating a PR Plan”