Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why I hate PR

Let’s get this straight, I love Public Relations.  I’ve been doing it for more than 16 years and can’t think of a better way to spend a workday. However, what I do hate is the term ‘PR’.

While the initials have been the accepted way to describe Public Relations since the business first began – which was about a nanosecond after the first journalist put chisel to stone – I have never used the term.  Why?  Because I do not “do PR.” I practice the art of Public Relations.

Any day of the week, or weekend, I can be asked to set up a customer event, ghost write an article for a CEO, arrange interviews with the press, write, shoot and edit corporate videos, create ad copy, write a speech, build a social media program, provide strategic communication advice during a crisis, review corporate charity policies, throw the occasional party and preform the granddaddy of all Public Relations functions, writing a media release.

Public Relations is, in my opinion, the utility knife of the communications field.  A solid practitioner of the art brings more than just one specialty to the table, and they certainly bring a lot more than what is reflected when they are described with a couple of initials.

This industry has battled hard to build itself up from the times it was used as depository for lost executives and employees who are “good with people.”  Today, we are trained professionals who can recognize problems before they happen, explain a concept in 250 words that would take others one thousand, and understand our audiences, from media to consumer.

All that deserves more than just initials. 

Hugh Cameron

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