Over the years I’ve been referred to as somebody who can make documents ‘look pretty’; somebody who can ‘chat up’ journalists; and my all-time favourite: a ‘PR poppet’.
There’s a fraction of truth in all of these statements of course, although at 43, juggling my consultancy work with family responsibilities, it’s fair to say I’m probably more ‘PR haggard’ than ‘poppet’ (see footnote). I never enjoyed any boozy lunches with journalists in my 20s and 30s… although I frequently worked late to meet deadlines and ensure all ‘i’s were dotted and ‘t’s crossed.
The sad fact is that misconceptions about PR – the poor cousin of marketing – remain, with some still believing that it is little more than faffing around with press releases and keeping bad news from the door with our witchlike charms.
More frustrating still is that some managers think it’s a skills which anyone can just pick up and so cost cutting exercises often see the PR resource reduced or amalgamated into another role, with the end result that great PR opportunities are missed or copy for websites and newsletters etc. lack consistent messaging or relevancy to readers.
Perhaps PR itself could do with… well, some good PR?
As PR practitioners it’s essential we bang the drum for our profession.
PR should not be an afterthought or a ‘nice to have’, but should be embedded in strategy, policies and staff training. It’s about listening and responding to stakeholders and ensuring that the values we espouse in our communications are embedded in the organisation’s actions and behaviours.
Skilled story-telling continues to be at the heart of the service we offer, but today the proliferation of the media means it’s all about creating great content which can be re-nosed for a variety of channels – be that a company blog, stakeholder newsletter or indeed, a press release.
Great newspaper coverage still goes a long way in helping to build the trust and consent which Henry Ford, one of the first exponents of PR, set out to achieve back in early 1900s America; but opinions about organisations are now formed 24/7 in the vast open talking shop we call ‘social media’.
Social Media campaigns can gather momentum like wildfire and communities are formed to champion a cause, challenge authority, as well as inciting fear and prejudice.
Having a two-way dialogue continues to be the basic premise of PR, but today it’s important we utilise all the communications channels available to truly protect and shape the brand of an organisation.
I now describe myself as being in the business of ‘reputation management’. I help organisations to create compelling copy that resonates with or motivates their target audiences.
So, call me a ‘PR poppet’ if you will, but I can help you engage new audiences, gain credibility amongst your professional peers, start new conversations with thought-leaders and demonstrate your impact more effectively. Please do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Footnote: Poppet: ˈpɒpɪt’ , noun
British, informal, an endearingly sweet or pretty child (often used as an affectionate form of address). “‘Here you are, poppet,’ the nurse said”
historical, a small figure of a human being used in sorcery and witchcraft.
Image courtesy: pixabay.com