The alert gives me a good read on perceptions about public relations, the often-misunderstood profession in which I serve.
In between the links to articles quoting PR spokespersons relaying information about layoffs or — increasingly, thank God — hiring, you usually get several stories about a PR “move” or “stunt.”
They give the impression that public relations strategies and tactics are nothing but fluff designed to distract people from the truth.
Some even quote so-called experts putting down a leader or organization for employing public relations practices such as town hall meetings, appearances in the media or memorable slogans.
They must have forgotten their history lessons. Was the Boston Tea Party a PR stunt? Was Thomas Paine’s Common Sense a bunch of fluff? Was Don’t Tread on Me a meaningless slogan?
Public Relations gets a bad rap in some circles. I guess that’s our fault.
I’m glad organizations such as the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) have taken steps to address the misconception.
PRSA offers an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR), which consists of oral and written tests. I have had mine since 1998.
In our APR study, we memorized this definition: “Public relations is a management function which establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization the publics upon whom its future depends.” (Wording not exact,but close. It’s been awhile.)
As Grunig, Grunig and Dozier say in Excellent Public Relations and Effective Organizations: “…the value of public relations comes from the relationships that communicators develop and maintain with publics.”
Katie Delahaye Paine writes in Measuring Public Relationships: The Data-Driven Communicator’s Guide to Success: “Healthy relationships pay off in reduced legal fees, lower turnover, higher customer loyalty, and greater efficiencies. And bad relationships are costly in the extreme.”
Thanks for giving me a little time to share something that’s been in the back of my mind. I usually try to report best practices here, or at least something I’ve tried and turned out to be a worst practice. Or maybe a review of a book I’ve read.
If you have any thoughts about public relations’ image, please share in the Comments. I’d love to hear what you have to say.
Comprehensive. That’s the word that comes to mind — and stays there — when describing Web Analytics 2.0: The Art of Online Accountability & Science of Customer Centricity by Avinash Kaushik.
This book is packed with 475 pages of information about online marketing. Plus, you get a CD with podcasts, videos and presentations.
To top that off, there’s a $25 Google Adwords coupon.
And all of the proceeds from the book go to two charities, The Smile Train and The Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation.
Kaushik, author of the research and analytics blog Occam’s Razor and the Analytics Evangelist for Google, covers an amazing amount of detail. He walks you through step-by-step approaches for selecting measurement tools, setting them up to capture relevant data, and sorting, analyzing and reporting findings. He shares best practices for blending online research with offline digging.
Kaushik does a great job of keeping what could be a dry topic very entertaining. His conveys his thoughts in conversational style.
I’m planning to use this book as a reference as I strive to implement up-to-date PR measurement practices in place in my day job. It also will help me support marketing of my wife’s upcoming book From Incurable to Incredible: Cancer Survivors Who Beat the Odds.
I’ve highlighted portions dealing with areas such as what to measure, how to do usability testing, how to administer surveys…. Already, a section on quick tagging has given our IS manager at work a process that will allow us to compare Web Trends against Google Analytics.
Many parts of the book didn’t pertain to me, though. They were written more to large corporations with big Web teams, including several (or more) people with full-time jobs as Web analysts. I skimmed those pages.
And I’ve decided that I’ll need to enlist the help of someone who loves working with numbers and Excel. I’m a word person, not a data cruncher.
Still, for the reasons mentioned above, I highly recommend this COMPREHENSIVE book.