PR Diaries: 3 Lessons We Can Learn From Basic PR Practice

Best Practices

I know what you’re thinking, “This girl is always complaining and I don’t even know what she does or what she has to complain about.” It’s okay, no hard feelings, that’s what everyone thinks about PR pros because nobody actually knows what their job entitles, which is ironic considering their job is all about effective communication. I’m going to clear the board by explaining the basis of PR and why all of us need to sit down for a lesson.

When I finally found my direction in college, it ended up being in PR, which is funny because I entered the field knowing virtually nothing about the profession. I had just heard good buzz around the major and at that point thought, screw it, PR IT IS. PR is one of those professions you can’t really understand until you actually do it. And the extent of PR duties from company to company varies widely, which makes explaining your job very confusing. But once we stumble on our words enough, people are like, “Oh wait, I need that, gimme!”  

The base of PR is effective communication. Check out these 3 lessons to make it happen: Click To Tweet

 

Public Relations, The Business

As previously mentioned, the base of PR is effective communication. When my advisor told me I had to take some Intro to Communication classes, I thought to myself, “Pffff, learning how to communicate? Like I’m doing right now with myself in my head? Easy. Game on, degree.” Once I actually started taking these classes, it wasn’t very long until I realized nobody knows how to communicate effectively. I’ll be the millionth person to say it, thanks technology.

 

Read about how to sell your story through cognitive science.

 

Lesson 1: Learn The Communication Loop Model

Here is how communication is supposed to be formatted, but definitely is not:

pr practice

(source)

 

Lesson 2: BE THE LOOP

At the very least, I’m emailing anywhere from 5-200+ different professionals from other companies on behalf of my clients every day. Keeping in mind these professionals are all very busy, I give them a 14 day grace period to respond and always mention to leave me a response regardless if they want to run with our content or not. The ‘or not’ is a joke me and myself laugh at, mostly because they’re never going to get around to responding to my email, ever. You’re probably like, “Woah, Noelle. You send 200 emails to 200 people sometimes? You must have like a crazy huge inbox when you get to work in the morning.” But actually, this is my real life.

While we laugh and poke fun, it’s something to think about and something even myself could improve. Being responsive is even more important now that we’re heavily reliant on technology as a communication platform. I do my best to respond to every email within the same day it’s sent to me. Or if I have to dig deeper for more information that might take longer, I respond immediately notifying the “sender” (check your chart above) I received their information and will come back with answers within a specified time window. Even if I’m not delivering direct answers to their requests in my initial message, I’m still communicating to the sender that I’ve seen their message and working on a detailed response back within a time period I know I can hit.   

While this is an important lesson to practice in PR, it should be important for all professions. If you’re hired as someone’s ‘web guy’ or their ‘floral guy’ or the ‘accountant guy,’ whichever ‘guy’ you’re playing, be the reliable one. That’s good PR for your business and image. If you’re the ‘cleaning guy’ who never answers emails, texts and calls until 2 days later, you’re going to be the ‘jobless guy.’ Ope! Sorry not sorry, but it’s truth talk.

 

Lesson 3: Drop It (Your Emotions) Like It’s Hot

A lot of communication is lost by people being blinded by their own emotions. What’s the first bit of advice any old married couple says to the newly weds? The wife is always right….AND!!!! Listen to each other. This goes for everything under the sun always and forever. When clients start getting their panties knotted in a bundle, I notice often times they continue firing back with the same things they’re upset about that one of my team members has already diffused over and over. They will keep firing back until we break down the message into tiny, bite-size pieces.

This isn’t something that happens with just client-employee communication, this happens all over the board in every organization. When we have a strong opinion about something or we’re upset something went wrong on someone else’s watch, it’s hard to drop our emotions and listen to what happened. But once you do, the problems will unfold near immediately. Cut out all the middle crap by simply listening to what happened and you can come up with a logical solution, all emotions aside.

 

You can laugh like I did when my advisor told me I needed to brush up on my communication skills all you want, but implement these three (so easy) lessons into your daily work grind and you’ll dodge a lot of fireballs that would normally set your mornings on ablaze.  

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