Archive for April, 2009

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Back to PR basics

April 12, 2009

As I flip through the pages of my daily planner and stare at the bulleted list of quickly approaching due dates, I cannot help but feel slightly overwhelmed.  I’m glad only four weeks of class and a week of finals are left in this semester, but the list of essays, group projects and tests coming up is daunting.

When that overwhelming feeling keeps me up at night, I know it’s time to get back to the basics.  It’s stressful times like these that remind me to find beauty in the simple things in life.  It’s important to never lose sight of who you are, where you’ve been and where you’re going.

Now that I’ve had my sentimental moment: Isn’t PR the same way?  As I read tweets on Twitter, browse my Google Reader and open my PRSA/PRSSA e-newsletters, I am surrounded by a vast range of information on how social media is revolutionizing PR.

Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy social media and can’t wait to apply the skills I’m learning to my future career.  But I also think PR professionals can get so caught up in tweets and blogging that we lose sight of why we’re tweeting and blogging in the first place.

So here’s a few quick links to bring you back to the “basics” of public relations:

  • Public relations takes time.

BadPitchBlog wrote a great post on why PR doesn’t happen overnight.  I know the best personal and professional relationships in my life developed over a length of time, and relationships in PR are similar.  Patience is a virtue, and it will pay off in PR.  Reporters will take you more seriously when you’ve delivered good stories to them time and time again.  Take the time to establish relationships with your audience, and they will bloom into something beautiful in time.

  • Personality counts.

BadPitchBlog seems to be my blog of the week.  Savvy & Energetic: Keys to Real PR reminded me that skills are incredibly important, but your attitude as a PR professional will also affect your career.  As The Strategist Online says: You are a brand worth building.  And according to the New York Times, branding yourself in the workplace can also increase job security.

You can also set yourself apart from your peers through professional development opportunities.  PRSA will host a free webinar, “Proving and Improving PR’s Value and ROI: Why So Many People Get it Wrong and How You Can Get it Right” 3 to 4 p.m. EDT Tuesday, May 5.

  • Social media is a tool.

Student and blogger Paul Matson said in a tweet:

LinkedIn is my Rolodex. Facebook is my scrapbook. Twitter is my idea generator/networking source.

ToolbeltIt’s important for PR students and professionals to view social media as a resource.  Although it’s revoluntionizing public relations, it’s just one of the many tools we carry in our belt.

What do you consider to be some of the “basics” of public relations?  If you are a PR professional, what simple practices do you follow to stay on track?

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Economy slows, PR grows

April 4, 2009

It’s been a trying week for General Motors employees who once relied on their stable GM jobs to support their families.

Let me rephrase that.  It’s been a trying few months.

GM Lordstown Plant

I grew up approximately 25 minutes away from the GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio, and a large percentage of my high school classmates had one or more parents working at the plant.  So when GM began announcing layoffs and shift cuts over the past few months, my heart broke for those families facing uncertain futures.  The situation became stickier this week as President Obama announced plans to restructure GM and Chrysler, leading to the resignation of Richard Wagoner, GM chairman and chief executive.

I always imagined I’d move home after college and pursue a career in corporate public relations, but as the major corporations in the Mahoning Valley face uncertain economic futures, my dreams are facing an adaptation process.

However, hope is never lost!  I picked a recession-proof career when I chose to major in public relations.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects PR jobs to grow 18 percent between 2006-2016, which is faster than the national average.  Here’s some reasons why PR won’t fade away in a lagging economy:

The Growth of Social Media

Coca-ColaPublic relations professionals have recognized the importance of social media communications for quite some time, but upper management and the general public are finally catching on.  Coca-Cola announced the launch of its office of digital and social media this week in hopes of connecting individuals to the company and its brands.  Large corporations are starting to recognize the importance of social media to reach their audiences in an effective manner.  Kudos to Coca-Cola for taking this initiative; I hope other corporations will follow.

Birmingham City University announced it will offer a master’s degree to teach students how to use Facebook, Twitter and Bebo.  Many critics say the degree is a waste of university resources, as many social media tools can be self-taught.  However, I respect the university’s efforts to train students to grasp social media’s potential.

Crisis Communications

Unfortunately, someone has to be the bearer of bad news.  As America’s economy navigates through a recession, it seems as though the pool of bad news has been much deeper than the pool of good news.  Executives need the expertise of public relations practitioners to guide communications through the tough times of layoffs, job cuts, administrative changes  and bankruptcies.

On the brighter side: Businesses will also need PR to announce the good news when the economy strengthens.

A Global Marketplace

Global communications has been a hot topic among several guest speakers at recent PRSSA Kent meetings.  We live in a global marketplace, and many companies are expanding their global efforts to remain viable in a shaky American economy.  These companies need solid global communications to adapt to each culture and society they reach.  PR practitioners willing to travel regularly and/or move overseas will see many career opportunities in their futures.

What other factors do you think will contribute to the growth of public relations in the present and future?  Which changes and paths are you willing to take to ensure a lasting career in PR?