Public relations isn’t easily defined.
The name for the industry itself is a bit intimidating:
Public…which means people…lots of people…who need things…from me.
Relations…now I have to form relationships…with lots of people…who will need things…from me.
I attended the PRSSA 2013 National Conference in Philadelphia Oct. 25 – 29. Aside from climbing the “Rocky Steps” and visiting landmarks such as Independence Hall and Love Park, most of my time spent at the conference was in sessions learning about how to utilize my skill sets (or acquire new skills) to be the best PR practitioner I can be.
I like the sound of that just as much as you do. What I actually learned, however, is that PR has gone through a complete metamorphosis within the last decade. “The press release is dead” is a phrase I read and hear often. I don’t believe that’s the case though.
From the various speakers I was fortunate enough to learn from, a common concern was that PR has shifted from an incredibly personal field where genuine relationships must be cultivated to ensure success to a seemingly virtual world of social networking to form short-term partnerships.
It could be argued that all relationships are now somewhat virtual. I can sift through my Facebook timeline and find out a friend from high school got married over the weekend in Fiji without having to speak to him/her. Congrats by the way.
My argument, however, is that the foundation and building blocks of public relations still exist. Ethical decision-making is key and fostering relationships with key publics will always be the goal. Another common theme I noticed at the conference is the idea of PR practitioners being the “storytellers” of the communication field.
We want to know your story and we want to share your story. First we may have to humanize your story and help you develop said story, but in the end it’s still a matter of us telling the story of you, your brand or your company.
Give me your story, and I’ll do my best to tell the world.