PR In Progress

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Thoughts on Public Relations, Communications, Social Media, Sports and anything else in my life…

PR Pros, Are You Actually Conversing with Your Public?

I just finished reading The Cluetrain Manifesto and I’m a little peeved I waited this long to do so.

The book really opened my eyes to the fact that too often today, practitioners aren’t taking the time to truly interact and converse with their public. Instead, they continue to feed them the boring corporate statements that read more like legal documents than news.

I think The Cluetrain Manifesto should be a required reading for any public relations and marketing student so that they can see early on what really works and what consumers want. Because if you sit down and think about it, the message of the book is really just common sense. In order to reach your public, you need to just listen and learn to have a conversation with them. PR is said to cherish the idea of two-way communication, but how often is it really utilized?

I highly recommend reading The Cluetrain Manifesto if you haven’t done so. If nothing else, it will allow you to re-assess your current communications strategy.

Image credit: http://www.cluetrain.com

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Filed under: Book, Public Relations

Dusting Off The Keyboard

Let me first begin by apologizing for letting so much time lapse before cranking out a new post. These past two months have been extremely hectic. 

So, what’s new? I’ve been working extremely hard alongside my fellow USF Bateman Team members on our campaign, College Bound Tampa. We have been fortunate enough to work with some outstanding teens in the University Area of Tampa.

I also started a new internship with the Public Affairs office of the City of Tampa. I’ve kicked around the idea of going into public affairs once I graduate, so I figured this was the most logical step to take in the decision process. So far, it has been amazing. Check out the City of Tampa’s award winning Web site when you get a chance!

I feel ashamed of myself that I let so much time pass between posts. For a while there I thought I was going to give up, but I love writing too much to do that. Expect more posts. I promise.

Photo Credit: Erik

Filed under: PRSSA, Public Relations, USF, Writing, , , , ,

Want to explore social media for your business? Hire an intern!

Let’s face it, social media has only begun to take root in public relations. What we know now is only a stepping stone for what is to come in the next few years. We are already pitching journalists and sending out press releases via Twitter, quickly knocking down the walls of tradition. So why fight social media? You’ll only be left in its wake…

So, how do you get started?

Hire an intern. College students spend copious amounts of time using social media and would like nothing more than to take those skills and relate them to their jobs. This has many benefits to both you and the intern: You get free help, your business begins its shift into Web 2.0, the intern gains invaluable experience with both old and new practices, and you both walk away knowing you have provided a great service to each other.

That being said, this shouldn’t be a social-media-only internship. Interns should still learn about your business, how to operate in your sector and develop their core skills. Just because social media is making things easier for PR people doesn’t mean we have to slack on our fundamentals!

Start slow.

It is quite tempting to register for every social media site or tool out there, but you must refrain from that. Before you even launch a blog, or begin twittering, you need to sit back and listen to what is being said about you. This is the perfect job for an intern. They can take the time to research the tools and report back to you, helping decide which ones would help you the most. This allows them to follow feedback about your business, learning your strengths and weaknesses, and become a vital component of this new communications channel you are about to open.

Enjoy and Embrace it.

Once you’ve researched social media tools and tried some out, decide if you truly enjoy them. If you begin seeing them as a chore, it is probably best you don’t continue using them. However, if you are enjoying social media and it becomes a viable part of your practice, embrace it. The more time you spend with the tools, the more you’ll learn about them and you’ll start using them in different ways than when you started. PLUS, social media is one of the least expensive tools you can use for your business today.

There, I’ve just given you two ways to improve your workflow and help the next generation of PR practitioners for next to nothing–Hire an intern and let them explore social media for your business.

What are your thoughts? Do you think more companies will begin searching for social media interns?

Filed under: Public Relations, Social Media

Excuse Me…What is PR?

This past week, I’ve reflected on something many before me have as well–What is PR?

While working at Student Organization Showcases for our USF chapter of PRSSA, I have been asked this question many times. Each time I am asked this question I give a different answer, one more complicated than the next. So, I sat down, thought about it and decided to share my definition of public relations.

As I’ve been taught throughout college, public relations is a strategic management function. However, I feel that may be too broad to define PR for what it really is–a strategic communications function. This seems to be more fitting, at least for me.

By being a strategic communications function, the role of PR is to be a liaison between an organization and its publics. There are many facets of public relations, but they are all centered around this connection. An organization must maintain constant communication with its publics in order to retain their business, therefore it is crucial to the overall business plan to have an effective communications strategy. This is where PR comes in to define publics, create objectives, implement communications tactics and evaluate the overall plan.

From that point, the PR practitioner is able to measure the overall effectiveness of a organization’s communications with its publics and advise upper-level management on ways to improve and new avenues to explore.

Though it definitely gets more complex than that, I think that would be a good start at explaining the true function of public relations to those who are skeptical or unsure about it.

What is your take on this? How do you explain PR to people who don’t truly know the real purpose of it?

Photo credit: trav1s

Filed under: Perception, PRSSA, Public Relations, USF

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