Many people are confused about what public relations are. They tend to associate PR with only high-profile people or businesses.
However today, anyone with a social media profile is practicing public relations on some level. Users are sending forth the message, “Hello cyber-world. I’m here!” with every tweet, post and update. Each post is like a mini press release informing their “target publics” about their activities. No matter what kinds of information people disclose about themselves, they are conducting a public relations campaign—good or bad. (A crisis communication plan may need to be implemented later, but that is a topic for another blog post.)
More and more PR professionals contact traditional journalists and influential bloggers through social media to generate buzz for their organization. Someone tweeting about their involvement in a project or interest may alert the media just as easily.
The difference between public relations professionals and the average person is that the professional has learned how to effectively manage relationships with the target audience in a positive manner. Not all truths may be perceived as good initially, but hopefully, with the guidance of a skilled professional, the outcome will be rosier than the starting point.
It’s not schmoozing. It’s not creating spin. A good PR pro will consult their client about the best possible way to conduct their communications regardless of the scenario.
Organizations need to be clear about what public relations are for the sake of their reputations. A name is hard to repair once damaged. It’s always easier to prevent a mess than clean it up.