5 PR lessons from ‘House of Cards’

The show’s lead, Frank Underwood, will do anything to stay on top. Though many of his methods are underhanded, PR pros can still glean useful advice from the character.

Frank Underwood lies, cheats and steals—but he’s also a goldmine of PR wisdom.

The notoriously praised, self-made potentate is America’s president in the hit Netflix series “House of Cards.”

He might have murdered a few innocents and possibly stepped on a sea of toes in his rise to glory, but behind that impenetrable façade—where his soul should be—there are witty, quotable snippets of public relations wisdom.

Here are a few (surprisingly) good PR tips, courtesy of Underwood:

1. Honesty is always the best policy.

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The root of bad PR is misinformation. People would rather be fed truth than ambiguity, even when the situation is tough to digest.

When in doubt, be honest with yourself, your team and your audience.

2. Keep your word.

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When you make a promise to your client, your staff or members of the media, they expect you to deliver—no matter what.

Though there is a fine balance in managing expectations, a promise is a promise. In an industry based on words, you will be judged on your ability to keep your own.

[FREE DOWNLOAD: 10 punctuation essentials]

3. Be trustworthy.

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You might have heard this before: PR is nothing without trust and loyalty.

Relationships are everything in the communications industry, so be selective in whom you trust and how you determine loyalty.

4. Speak face to face.

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Emails and phone conferences are convenient, but in-person meetings cannot be overvalued.

By speaking face to face, you garner more respect, forge lasting connections and ultimately produce better long-term results. Like our VP, Josh Harlow, once said: You can’t shake hands with an email.

5. Get enough rest.

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PR pros can all relate to this one. Sleep is sometimes a necessary evil, so take care of yourself. Get some shut-eye every once in awhile.

What additional tips from Underwood would you add to the list, Ragan readers?

Laura Wilcox is an account coordinator at JonesPR. A version of this article originally appeared on the firm’s blog.

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Topics: PR

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