Why do you practice PR?

I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and have decided to put my thoughts on the net after recent one sided conversations with fellow practitioners and reading good blog posts such as David Mullen’s post “Are you contagious”  and Valley PR Blog’s post “Going into PR? Give it serious thought…puh-leeze.”

Why do I practice PR? No – not b/c I’m a people person and have social skills – that’s an intern answer. I practice PR because I love the idea of image management. I also love connecting thought leaders to the rest of the world. People who make a difference, who are brilliant minds and have research to back it all up are my “clients.” Having the ability to take a decision being made in a meeting and sharing it with the media thrills me. Turning lukewarm contacts into resources is work that I enjoy and benefits my “clients” in the long run.

Being part of a team that produced a 78% increase in news hits in target publications in Q1 2008 over Q1 2007 brings the biggest smile to my face.

But in my young 16 month professional career (yea I’m so fresh I count by months) I’ve seen a lot of practitioners don’t “get it.” They over pitch, they blind pitch, and they pitch fluff. They are the ones that make it Dear PR Flack and the famous Bad Pitch Blog. But what frustrates me the most is they are the ones you meet and it’s a complete one sided conversation. They are fake, they don’t care about you and they will sell their soul to get ahead. It’s like talking to a wall with these people.

I vow throughout my career to care. To care about my fellow pr practitioner who I could be coordinating news or clients with. To care about the media, when they call. Make them a priority. Make myself a resource. The simple things matter and it takes the smallest amount of effort, whether you’re talking to a fellow pro or a member of the media – ask how are you, share ideas, say thank you.  There’s no need to overdo it or do double work, the media doesn’t need that, no one does. 

Would you take the same vow as me? 

I’m sure there is somewhere an oath of honor for PR pro’s, like doctors have, we all need to sign it and follow it. 

I’m not an expert, I’m always learning and I’m really grateful for my mentors, but in my young career I’ve seen way to many PR pro’s who just don’t “get it.”

2 Responses to “Why do you practice PR?”

  1. finalspin - October 18th, 2008

    I chose PR to fight the good fight. I like to think there’s still a bit of that, but now it’s more a case of “I do it because it’s the only marketable skill I really have.” Humans like doing what they do well, so it can keep a flack going for quite a while.

    There is no PR oath because PR is so diversified. For you, it’s mostly media relations (something I kick-started my career with but do a lot less now). It shows in your choice of “vow”.

    For others, stakeholder relations. Comm strategy and issue management. Production. Social advertizing. Or whatever branch popped up in the last year while I wasn’t looking (Netroops organizer?)

    And we can’t take the doctors’ vow. Because me do harm – some of us as collateral, others as an inherent part of their job for some time.

    I like your “Make myself a resource”. Can’t go wrong with that and not just in media work. But I’m not always kind to my fellow PR practitioners, because some deserve to have their head banged against a wall repeatedly. When a guy flacking for a tobacco company extends his hand, you shake it only if you intend to get his fingerprints.

    Good luck with everything. And get that 78% increase for the whole year, not just a quarter.

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  2. arizonabrian - October 18th, 2008

    Final spin,

    your example of why we can’t sign an oath is very eye opening. Your are completely right – some of us really do harm.

    Thanks for the comments and I’m striving for the increase for the entire year.

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