Working here at DeMoss has been my first real experience working for a PR agency. I've done PR-ish things at other jobs but this is my first role being in a place where the one thing we do is public relations. It's been a bigger learning curve for me than what I anticipated but in a good way.
Not long ago, @cspenn posted a blog that gave a very simple definition of public relations:
"Public relations (or earned media, as we’ve come to call it) is the business of getting other people to talk about you."
Pretty simple right? Yes and no. You have one clear goal but a million different ways that you could go about it.
I love that PR touches everything
One battle that we fight here - one I'm sure many other PR firms have to negotiate as well - is how public relations is more than just media relations. While reaching out to reporters, lining up interviews and coaching a client at a press event is absolutely part of the job, it's not the only job. In his book "The Little Red Book of Wisdom," my boss @MarkDeMoss wrote an entire chapter about how everyone is in PR. From the front line service worker to the CEO, everyone and everything impacts how your brand is communicated. It's not just the product, service, mission or company logo and colors that communicate your brand to the public. It's every touchpoint. What experiences are going to compel people to talk about you? Most importantly, what story do want them to tell on your behalf?
The online and analog worlds blend in a more visible way
My job role is fairly specific here as I'm tasked with leading digital strategy for much of our work. That said, it would be a huge miss on my part to only pay attention to what is going on inside of Facebook, Twitter or Reddit forums. Most of what is said online stems from what happened in the analog world. Did the person online have a good or bad experience in your place of business? Was the customer service person helpful? In a nonprofit setting, did a person writing a tweet or comment online have a good interaction with one of your organization's volunteers? It's much easier to see how what is planned offline impacts your online digital strategy. I've noticed PR - when done well - creates a much more consistent brand experience across the board. It's more than press releases or clever social copy but is helping clients shape every interaction the public has with them.
PR isn't going anywhere anytime soon
While it'll always move quickly and change roles, the general practice and goals of PR will remain the same - garnering "earned media" in some form or fashion. We will always need people to tell brand stories. How an organization is perceived by the public will always have the potential to make or break them financially. This article from Ragan talks about how marketing firms will have to take on "PR thinking" to survive long term. That's something I'm willing to bet my career on at this point.