The start of a new week is a good time to renew a sense of first principles. One that's come up in reviewing the flow of web news and insight is how well PR people know and relate to the people they work for. It's critically important for the terms of engagement to be established and known at the start of a PR relationship. That means sizing up prospective clients and being understood from the beginning. Don't just slide into a relationship.
As it applies to clients, the relational aspect of PR is discussed by Lucinda Boddy, of Livewired Public Relations, who notes that "the reality for many organizations is that they are allocating marketing spend to a function (PR) they know very little about. This brings about a significant number of challenges for practitioners within the industry who are still trying to educate clients about the true meaning of effective PR." Indeed so. Aims need to be established at the very start, and prospective clients either brought to understanding or ditched at that point.
And, in a more discursive manner, on her Greenbanana blog, Heather Yaxley notes that "What I find surprising is that there is little attention paid to educating PR practitioners in respect of relationships. The focus of training and qualifications tends to remain on communications, with an implicit belief that being competent in writing somehow equates to building positive relationships." Not so, of course. The bedrock relational skill is sizing up those you are considering working for, and their understanding of what you do and why. Whether a fit occurs or not depends on your awareness of those key moments.
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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