As we kick off a new year, it’s hard not to acknowledge the more things change, the more things stay the same. This old proverb rings true for life and what we do in public relations.
I don’t think that anyone will disagree about the enormous impact social media has had on our society and certainly, the public relations profession. At the same time, the fundamentals of public relations have not changed. Public relations is, and always will be, about building relationships with your target audiences. It’s a two-way street; there must be something in it for both sides. With that said, following are a few personal observations and things to keep in mind as we move into a new year.
Traditional Media Is Not Dead
While we’re all keenly aware of what has happened to traditional media – the shrinking news room, loss in advertising revenues, fewer reporters covering more, etc. – the fact remains that people still pay attention to and read newspapers, subscribe to magazine, watch the news and listen to radio. Mass media still has a huge influence on our society – even though its delivery has evolved and now includes tweets, video and wall posts. And maintaining positive relationships with editors, news directors and reporters is as a critical as ever. Check out this article that provides some interesting statistics on traditional media and its continued reach:
If You Don’t Want to See it in Print (or on TV, or on YouTube, etc.), Don’t Say It
It’s like my mom always said to me when I was having disagreements with my siblings, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. And in today’s day and age where anything and everything you say can be recorded, it’s even more critical. We witnessed many examples of this in 2010. In fact, GFM’s Gil Rudawsky pointed out a few of the more public blunders of 2010 in his blog on Dec. 22, 2010:
This is one of the first lessons any PR professional learns as part of media training – if you don’t want to see it in print, don’t say it or put it in writing.
You’re Only As Good as Your Reputation (and Your Good Reputation Can Disappear in a Flash)
We’ve all seen recent examples of individuals and corporations where reputations are damaged, if not destroyed, overnight – Tiger Woods, Brett Favre, BP, Goldman Sachs, to name a few. At the same time, we’re a country of people who believe in second chances and forgiveness. What are you doing to protect your reputation or the reputation of your clients? Do you have the resources in place to quickly address any issues that could arise and potentially damage your reputation? Do you have a social media crisis plan in place? Having an up-to-date crisis plan that you and your leadership team fully understand and embrace is that insurance policy. It won’t prevent a crisis from happening, but it will help guide you through difficult waters and allow you to emerge on the other side.
What are your thoughts on the topic? Are there other examples of how public relations is evolving, and at the same time, remaining true to its roots? We’d love to hear from you!
~ Barb Jones