If you have a #PR “To Do” List, Then You May Also Need a PR “Don’t Do” List

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 7.51.05 PMMost professionals I know have a running To Do list. It always feels so good to check off each item one by one, just to add one more. However, what about creating a Don’t Do list and checking off items regularly? As much as we find pleasure in our To Do lists, it’s the Don’t Do list that keeps us focused on what works and what is positive, as well as what propels us forward.

Here are a few items to consider for your PR Don’t Do list:

Don’t always focus on the blunders and gaffes in Public Relations. Yes, companies and their executives all make mistakes and often pay the price in the form of reputation damage. Although many of the errors make excellent case studies, don’t just spotlight and finger-point. Instead, let’s balance out the negative with some of the positives that showcase PR success, which is good for our industry. What have PR professionals and their companies done right lately? For every wrong, there are probably 100+ rights that don’t get discussed in our communities. It’s time to share the great stories illustrating the value PR can bring to an organization.

Don’t forget our young professionals; they are the leaders of the future. It’s so important to take the time to mentor students and professionals. Although it’s impossible to help everyone, all of the time, try your best to make time each week to answer questions, whether it’s via email, Skype or through your social media channels. Let younger professionals know that you’re there to support them and to guide their growth and development.

Don’t forget to take the best of PR forward, leaving the hype and spin behind. The focus should be on your ethical approach to public communication through all media formats. With changing consumer behaviors, emerging technology and new media channels popping up daily, remember to act in the best interest of the public you serve. Ethics should always be top of mind in your communication. It’s especially important in an age of social conversations to be cognizant of your audiences, focusing on moral principle and the dignity and respect of the public, at all times.

Don’t waste anyone’s time, especially if you’re trying to build a relationship. Be a dependable and reliable source. For example, if you book an appointment, in-person meeting or conference call, then you should not only show up, but also be ready to deliver meaningful information. Of course, we all know that “life happens” and there are times meeting or calls are missed. A note of caution … when you’re dealing with busy media, bloggers, podcasters, etc., sometimes you don’t get a second chance. Keeping your appointments and showing up interested and prepared says a lot about you. And, if you don’t, unfortunately, you may not get another opportunity to move the relationship forward.

From this point on, as you update your PR To Do list, you may also want to check off your Don’t Do list.

What’s going to top your list?