“PR” Is Not A Dirty Word

Strike that. Yes it is.

You see, what we’re doing in the world of “PR” these days has us digging deeper and getting dirtier (in a good way) than ever before. For years, public relations professionals have been labeled a number of unenviable things, most notably “spin doctors” (no, not the once popular 90s rock band). We’re often seen as the professionals hired to spin the truth for those trying to protect the real truth.  To be fair, there are those among us who do that, and do it well. But, by and large, most public relations professionals today are interested in seeking the truth, not running from it. 

So, in keeping with that spirit, I give you two very brief truths for consideration that should force us all to reconsider exactly what PR means these days.

Truth One: I was recently reading an issue of PR Tactics, which had a fascinating Q+A with an industry expert. His main sentiment was that PR no longer stands for “press release,” but rather “personal relationships” (neither being the literal expansion of the letters, of course). In my mind, he nailed it. It has never been more important to understand and relate to our target audiences, regardless of whether we’re talking to local media or local moms. Gone are the days of “company speaks, consumer listens.” In fact, it’s quite the opposite. And if we’re not interested in the truths they’re speaking, we’re going to fail miserably at achieving our goals.

Truth Two: The term “public relations” has never been more accurate (thanks fellow RDWer, Keith Marshall). Nailed it again. Let’s take a closer look at the term, public relations. To whom are we directing our message? The public. How we define who that public is depends on what we’re trying to achieve. It could be students, consumers of a certain lifestyle, residents, or even the media. Sometimes we label the target group as our audience. But public works, too.

 And then there’s “relations.” To save a little time, please see Truth One.