Judging by how many articles are published by PR pros across the world on certain themes, you’d think there is no more room for more advice on those particular topics. And that’s where you’d go wrong. There are certain aspects of communication and marketing where there’s never too much information! People seem to either have a short attention span, have issues remembering what others have already explained, or simply cannot make the connection between tips and how they apply to real-life cases.
So here’s a few PR topics that all public relations practitioners should discuss and write about:
1. Press releases
When to send them, who to send them to, what to write about and how to structure them. Yes, I realize how much these themes have been debated and I know how Google works (the search engine part), but I still see plenty of news releases where “Press Release” is used as a headline, where the information makes no sense or when they are simply releases about nothing.
2. Approaching the media
Pitching journalists, approaching bloggers, it might not seem like rocket science, but people keep getting it wrong. Finding the right journalist might prove tricky, but those sending out emails or snail mail or calling have a hard time finding names and departments even when they are clearly listed everywhere!
3. Crisis communication
A lot of companies and individuals still need to be reminded how to act in the midst of a crisis. They also need to be told, again and again, not to lie and not to try to hide important aspects under the carpet. Being smug and fighting transparency tooth and nail are known recipes for failure and making a crisis worse than it has been in the beginning.
4. Common sense and courtesy
Most public relations issues and situations require two things to be worked out nicely – some common sense and being courteous. Yes, the more seasoned you are as a professional, the more effective your PR strategies are, the better you are at handling crises and at reaching out to journalists, fans, bloggers, customers, etc. But in all honesty, all the knowledge in the world will never amount to much without you being nice and allowing your common sense to guide you in certain tricky decisions.
5. What PR is all about
If you’ve worked within an agency, but even in internal communications departments of bigger companies, you know there is still some educating to be done! Like it or not, the image of public relations, and ironically so, is quite shady. If in the USA Sex and the City and Kim Kardashian’s PR show The Spin Crowd describe our professions, it does not mean it’s not the same or worse in other parts. In Romania, the girls competing on the Bachelor are what defines my line of business this days and they are not making me feel very proud! And if that’s not enough, even when people’s perceptions are not filtered by such examples of PR ‘professionals’, most clients and most employers cannot really understand everything this particular field covers.
What other topics do you think we need to keep exploring to make ourselves and our clients better at communicating their business goals, values and strategies?