Guest Article | Roger Pynn, APR, CPRC

PR RRRRPR = R+R+R+R

Why was the student afraid of the y-intercept? She thought she’d be stung by the b.

Lost already?  You’re not alone.  As professional communicators, we rarely encounter math problems – let alone corny math jokes.  But, contrary to the notion that we public relations people are terrible at math, as humans, we inherently learn and work more efficiently with formulas, rules and reminders.  We rely on formulas to solve and analyze many of our problems, we rely on rules to help us set boundaries and we have reminders to help keep us on track.

So, it’s no surprise that, for us, the definition of public relations can boil down to a simple formula:  Relationships + Responsibility + Reputation + Results.

When applied in just the right measure, these four key elements result in an effective public relations practice:

Relationships
Developing relationships is at the core of what we do.  After all, “relations” is in the job description.  We must create lasting relationships with our stakeholders, including customers, employees, community leaders, investors, elected officials and members of the media, just to name a few.

The definition of a relationship centers on the importance of two-way communication, made even easier today with “smart” technologies.But here’s the key:  Relationships must be genuine.Without it, credibility is instantly lost.

Public relations professionals can’t focus so intensely on our own messaging that we forget to open our ears.Whether feedback is positive or negative, simply listening shows a genuine interest in the stakeholder experience.And that can transform a relationship from bad to better.

Responsibility
In our profession, there’s a lot at stake.  An organization’s success hinges on its reputation, its relationships and, ultimately, its results.And, public relations contributes to all three.

Clients hire us to make big decisions and we must be accountable, regardless of a positive or negative outcome.We’re bound to make mistakes, but excuses are not the solution.  We must own the problem, react quickly and learn from the experience.

Taking responsibility for your actions, and holding yourself and others within your organization accountable, is essential.It’s in this commitment to integrity that we can all lead by example and guide clients to do the same.  In fact, at Curley & Pynn, we think responsibility is so important that we integrated it into the foundation of our company culture.

Reputation
Can you name a business owner who isn’t concerned with their reputation?  Thriving businesses with bad reputations simply do not exist.  People associate with people they like and trust.  It’s one of the many reasons we’re in business.

Public relations serves as the conscienceof an organization. The C-suite relies on our strategic approach to maintain a company’s credibility in the marketplace.  Clients turn to us to guide them, help shape company culture, and identify opportunities to display their commitment to employees and the community.  It’s our job to influence an organization’s trustworthiness, dedication to stakeholders and corporate citizenship, and then share that story with the public.

Results
If you want to spark an instant friendship with a public relations professional, offer their client a seat on “Good Morning America.”  With nearly 5 million viewers, it’s one of America’s most-watched morning news programs – a coveted opportunity.
However, smart public relations practitioners know it’s not just about getting a big opportunity.  The true value our profession is not our output.  It’s our outcomes.  While it’s nice to set a goal of distributing five press releases a year or securing 10 high-profile interviews for your CEO, the real question is:  What results will your efforts achieve?
Our business is a social science.  Our clients want customers, voters, advocates and friends, and we have to figure out how to get there.  We can’t just secure opportunities with shows like Good Morning America for the sake of a good story.  We must secure meaningful opportunities that will motivate audiences in thought and action.  We must achieve results.

Public relations should dovetail not only the company’s overall marketing plans, but also its strategic business plan.  Your objectives should reflect the company’s objectives and have an impact on the bottom line.  That’s how you get a boardroom seat.  That’s how you influence company strategy.  And that’s how you ultimately drive the best results.

So, what’s that =
You can’t do a job well unless you know what’s expected of you.  The sum of these parts is our take on what our clients expect of a good public relations practitioner.

And equally important to success is that your client knows you can do the math.

Excerpt from For The Win, which can be found at www.30yearsofpr.com.

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