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May 18, 2012
Paul Holmes Puts Relationships In Today's Context
 
Effective public relations is about changing behavior, first and foremost — the client's behavior toward its publics. As another week ends, it's well to ponder and grasp the import of a lengthy essay by Paul Holmes about defining PR in the Social Media Age. Gee, you mean public relations is about relationships? Indeed so. 

Clients, says Holmes, "need to focus on developing relationships rather than delivering messages. They need to focus on their public relations." That's often hard to do. Who wants to recognize that they're not already an exemplary person or company? Or that the context for those terms is continually changing? Or that taking publics seriously requires close listening first — then responding effectively? 

So think of public relations as being about behavior before you think about it any other context — publicity, fund-raising, expansion, promotion. What needs to be changed about an organization's stance toward its publics? The longer it's been under a given leader's control, the more urgent that question is likely to be.

Holmes has done us a service by giving us a renewed relational context for our times. Give him a close weekend read. Then act accordingly. 

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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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