I recently spoke at the Florida Public Relations Association’s (FPRA) National Conference in Boca Raton, Florida. It was an excellent conference with a variety of top notch speakers who covered topics ranging from Disney’s community relations program to the basics of SEO. I participated on a panel session, “PR under Fire” and discussed a few of the challenges in the PR industry today. One reason PR is under fire stems from PR professionals being seen as nothing more than handlers and facilitators of information. For years, unfortunately, our work has been reduced and described by the media and bloggers as broadcast messages in news releases with spin and hype that carry little value or meaning for the market. On a positive note, I also said that PR 2.0 would enable PR professionals to use social media to become influencers and to rebuild our reputation to the rightful status that we deserve.
I wasn’t alone when I offered this advice. Later that day, I sat in on Joe Curley’s presentation. Joe is an APR, CPRC and has been providing PR counsel to Universal Parks & Resorts for about 25 years. He presented on the topic, “PR is Not Always Loved by Management: Here’s How to Get the Romance Started.” Joes theme was similar to mine….you have to gain back credibility and be seen as a valuable asset. Although Joe did not discuss social media or PR 2.0, he did touch on many excellent tips to get recognized by management as a strategic planner and someone who should have a seat at the boardroom table. Of course, if you add the ability to use listen through social media communications and customize a meaningful story, you’d surely have a PR champion!
Here are a few of Joe’s top tips for you to consider:
- Don’t wait to be asked
- Know what keeps the CEO up at night
- Analyze the big picture, not just the snapshot
- Get involved in the company’s policy making process
- Serve as the conscience of the organization
- Develop and present action-oriented decision-making information to management
- Know everything you can about your company’s operations (after all you are the story teller)
- Monitor the competition and the marketplace
- Focus your PR activities on objectives that clearly support the company’s business goals
There is so much that we can do to be PR influencers whether it’s social media related or just plain good communications and business practices. Can you think of any other tips that would help to change the image of PR and position us as influencers rather than just handlers of information?