Public Relations is about publics (or audiences) and relations (or relationships) with them. T
hat’s why we er… call it public relations because it works through creating relations with publics.
Among many other ways we can think about PR, I think of PR as being most about advocacy, ideas, and people.
And more than anything else it is about storytelling.
Advocacy is created best through stories. It’s the staple of understanding how to be a good journalist, and it is equally important to us.
Stories help people to understand the what, when, who, where, and why.
Of those 4 “Ws”, the “why” is the single most important thing to understand in PR.
Too often people rush to talk about what happened, when, who was there and where it happened. They forget to work out why it happened.
When a boss or a client comes to me with a challenge, my first thought is always “why does this matter?”
Thinking about PR itself and asking why PR matters, I’d say because PR changes (or reinforces) the way people who matter to us think about us. It’s about reputation.
To me reputation is what we say about somebody when they go out of the room.
It is that reputation that PR people whether working in-house or in agencies help employers or clients to build, promote, protect and often – to save.
The answer to my “why” question – why all of this matters is because good reputation helps people to buy and invest more with our client, to work for them, or to campaign and earn votes in politics.
These are the tangible “end products” of PR work.