Monday, July 27, 2009

Three reasons why PR is no longer the whipping boy

This is cross-posted from The Saltlick blog.

From marketers to journalists to mom bloggers, PR has traditionally been the favorite scapegoat of those in other areas of the communication field. Commonly referred to as purveyors of the “dark side” of communications, public relations professionals have dealt with a tainted label far too long. But that label is a non sequitur now, and here’s why:

1. The economy is a great leveler. Hoards of journalists have exited their profession – and at least some of them have entered public relations, a field they once castigated. I’ve watched this trend with interest and predict that more seasoned journalists will come to view public relations professionals with a lot more respect.

2. Digital deadlines and a “news now” mindset necessitate an alliance. News journalists simply have more to do with fewer resources. Today’s journalist must view PR professionals as a service-oriented commodity, necessary due to digital news timeframes. Newer journalists will welcome strong PR relationships.

3. The mommy blogger PR Blackout yielded backlash. Even Trisha, owner of, admits that she ill chose the name of a one-week campaign whose intent she *claims* was to encourage mom bloggers to get back to the basics of parent blogging. The ensuing conversation split the parent blogging community, yielded poor participation (latest estimates were 20 committed to participating) and had journalists like Cnet’s Caroline McCarthy declaring that “Working with the public relations industry is core to any journalist's (and now blogger's) job, as is the use of press releases and in some cases review products.” It’s a sure sign that whipping up on PR is passé and not to be done.

I also think that PR is naturally embracing strategic relationship management and expectations from an increasingly complex array of stakeholders and publics in a way that marketers and advertisers cannot in Web 2.0. Stakeholder demand for authenticity is placing PR professionals in the leadership role to define corporate values and to sustain interactive relationship building. The result is that the PR profession is building trust with more constituencies than ever before.

Taken together, these markers signal – to me, at least – a new era in PR, one that shows the value of the profession.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The How (Not) Guide to PR

This post is cross-posted on the LAF Blog here.

I blog a lot about PR tools, how social media affects PR and what we can do to be better PR professionals. However, what about those that are entering the PR field and wondering what tools they do need?

What about the tools they DON'T need? Let's face it, not everyone is a rockstar PR professional, nor are they ever going to be. Many times, hard work and dedication will get you far in this field. If you don't have the foundation, however, you won't make it. Below are three points that won't add to the next great PR pro:

1. I want to dress up, meet celebrities and like, host parties

sic_londonnyc_0 The public relations field is viewed as a glamorous all night party on many TV programs. With how my TV kids watch nowadays, it's no wonder that many enter their college public relations programs thinking that's what it is. Wrong. Public Relations does not equal solely publicity. Yes, you might plan events. You will be the one running around, making sure all of the details are seen to, dealing with any crisis and making sure that everyone is happy.

2. I have to write and research?

Yes. Two strengths I always tell PR students is that they must be able to write and research well. Most of my days are spent writing, researching and executing media relations. PR is all about getting the word out - and you have to know the market and your audience before proceeding.

3. "I'm a people person."

Good for you - so is everyone else. Your personality can get you far in this field - but it's through pitching, promoting a brand and landing media hits that will get you even farther. Many times, being extremely personable can come off as flirty and non-professional. There is a line - and you have to work for a brand that fits your personality.

So, what would you add?

*Photo copyright of HBO and Sex and the City.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bylaws Rewrite to be a Focus of PRSA’s 2009 Assembly

By Dan Keeney, APR
PRSA Assembly Delegate for Greater Fort Worth Chapter of PRSA

One of the most important organizational initiatives that PRSA is undertaking in 2009 is updating the national organization's bylaws. The initiative is intended to keep up with modern governance theories and current best practices in association management.

Amazingly, PRSA’s bylaws have not been thoroughly revised since they were first ratified more than 60 years ago. Broad and meaningful bylaws changes will help the Society continue to grow, prosper, and serve as a leading voice in the public relations industry.

PRSA established a Bylaws Task Force in 2007 to determine the changes needed. The task force felt that governance changes in three main areas of the bylaws — membership, governance, and leadership — could further strengthen the Society for the future.

MEMBERSHIP: The task force recommended that the bylaws be updated to extend membership opportunities to professionals with a broader range of knowledge, experiences and job responsibilities. This reflects the changes in what many communications professionals do. The change will increase the diversity of thought across the organization.

GOVERNANCE: The task force recommended that we open the election of the national board to all members. The National Assembly would become the “Leadership Assembly,” a body of leaders advising the PRSA Board of Directors on issues pertaining to the profession. The task force envisions a group that communicates regularly, votes electronically and helps shape PRSA’s advocacy agenda. Under the task force’s recommendations, the composition of the Leadership Assembly would remain the same as the present Assembly, with the addition of Delegates representing National committees and task forces.

LEADERSHIP: The PRSA Bylaws Task Force has recommended expanding the requirements for, and eliminating certain barriers to, board service to open board service to a broader range of individuals with diverse backgrounds. Under the new requirements, any PRSA member in good standing who is Accredited in Public Relations (APR) and/or a Chapter, District, Section or Committee leader, and/or has more than 20 years of public relations experience with increasing levels of responsibility, would be eligible to run for the board. Additionally, all board members would be elected at-large meaning that directors would no longer be elected from the specific area of the country in which they live and work. Directors would be allowed to serve up to two, two-year elected terms, which may be served consecutively or non-consecutively. Directors would still be entitled to seek additional terms as an officer.

Subject to input from PRSA members, the plans is to incorporate changes in these areas into a new bylaws document to be voted on by the Assembly at PRSA’s International Conference in San Diego in November 2009.

Member questions may be sent at any time to

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