6 PR principles pros can’t afford to forget

In a rapidly changing professional environment, public relations practitioners can lose sight of the basics. Here’s a refresher.

Amid the tumultuous, unpredictable changes in the industry, the basics of what PR professionals aim to accomplish often get overlooked.

When you feel stuck, stop and evaluate your progress: Think about what you’re striving for.

In the whirlwind of delivering results, some PR principles are often forgotten. Here are a few that can help you re-center your program:

1. Communications is an extension of the business—not a standalone activity. Any communication or PR plan must ultimately contribute to achieving a company’s business objectives. If it doesn’t, then there might not be a good reason to put it into motion.

2. Public relations is a long-term process, not a short-term solution. Despite what some movies or TV shows would suggest, there is no way to PR your way out of a crisis. You can minimize the damage, but can’t talk your way out of a problem you had a hand in creating. Developing, nurturing and enhancing a reputation will take time, but the benefits are worth it.

3. A reputation can be tarnished in a matter of minutes. If a reputation takes time to develop, there’s a strong likelihood that repairing it would take even longer. Executives make business decisions, and as counselors we must consider the reputational effect they may have on our companies or clients.

4. What a company or spokesperson does or says sets the agenda for future conversations. We’re seeing this in the political world, but we also see it when, for example, commentators comb through the Federal Reserve’s statements and pick out specific words—individual words—that sum up the nation’s economic status. or when a CEO makes an off-the-cuff statement that shadows him or her for years. They can set the agenda of future conversations or areas of focus—sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.

5. Relationship-building is not transactional. We sometimes have high expectations for a first-time exchange, when we know that networking and building relationships are the foundation for fruitful business interactions.

6. Timing can be everything. Life is all about timing, and so is PR. How and when you choose to act, speak out or announce could profoundly affect the results of your efforts. Sometimes it’s in our control, and sometimes it’s not, but being judicious about timing is integral to implementing your strategy.

Julia Sahin works in financial communications at a large PR firm in New York. Connect with her on Twitter. All opinions are her own and do not reflect her employer’s. A version of this article originally appeared on Muck Rack.

Topics: PR


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