Posted by on Oct 12, 2015 at 9:19am
Senior Account Manager Sarah Murray gives her views on the perception of Public Relations and how these misconceptions can stifle creativity in the industry.
PR is a sector that many have found difficult to define, even PR professionals themselves. Perhaps it is because we try and convey the specifics behind the art, when it is an industry so varied and evolving that trying to sum it up in a short sentence is nigh impossible.
Simply put, I have always thought of it as ‘reputation management’, and everything that this involves. Too often we see individuals joining the world of PR that believe it is simply about drafting a press release, before adopting the ‘spray and pray’ approach to press and calculating the resulting AVE to determine a client’s return on investment. Do we write press releases? Yes, as well as features, pitches, campaigns, strategies, reports, web copy, newsletters, and everything in-between. Do we strive for press coverage? Yes, but any robust PR strategy should be multi-layered and will plan to communicate positive key messages using a range of platforms, such as events, community meetings, online forums, conferences, internal comms…really any way your creativity allows you.
While communication is at the heart of PR, creativity and the instinctive ability to align with your audience is our art. It is harmful to our industry to pigeon-hole it in such a way that stifles ingenuity and deters creative-minds. Of course, we need the formulaic account management that requires organisation and attention to detail, but it’s the strategies and inspired thinking that adds the excitement and magic to what we do – after all anyone can offer to write a press release, but it takes a talented PR professional to inspect and explore all the facets of communication before presenting a dynamic PR plan. And that’s what clients should expect when they hire an agency. It not just your time they’re paying for, it’s your know-how and ingenuity.
So, ‘reputation management’ may be a bit vague for some, but for me, public relations it just too creative an industry to pin down to one succinct sentence. All you need to know is this, if you want to be liked or if you need to bridge the gap between how you see yourself and how others see you, we’re your people. Leave the rest to us.