Monday, January 30, 2012

Just keep writing

200 eYe eYe
Photo via kentigern
I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is my 200th blog post. (Woohoo.) It's sort of like watching your car's odometer roll over to a high mileage. Now I know I'm not in the upper echelon of bloggers and I honestly didn't think I'd have anything to say of any consequence. There are tons of other writers who do a much better job. Many of whom I read daily.

This blog was started as a way for me to pass along the strategies, tactics, tools, and tips that I'm learning as a communication professional. It has had some hits and misses. Not everything gets noticed, or comments, but it's been well worth my time to take a look at a variety of topics and trends in public relations. I've gone through my bouts of writer's block as have most writers. There have been short pauses here and there to get my thoughts together. There have also been times when I wished for more hours in the day so I could get thoughts down and fill up this white screen in the hopes of helping out others who've come across similar issues or who identify with problems or ideas.

To the writers that I read for brilliant thoughts, trends, or topics (such as Geoff Livingston, Kami Watson Huyse, Arik Hanson, Deirdre Breakenridge, Gini Dietrich, Mike Schaffer to name just a few): Please keep up the great works. Each of you (along with so many others) provide a tremendous wealth of resources and discussions.

To the readers who stop by this blog frequently (or infrequently) as well as those who at some point decided to receive these blog posts via email: Thank you.

To the new(er) bloggers out there who have ever felt discouraged by the writing process or who hit that wall and don't think it's worth it anymore: Just keep writing. Get that groove back.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pondering Three Candidate Definitions for PR

One week ago, PRSA released three candidate definitions for PR on their 'Public Relations Defined' blog. They are now in a public comment period that will last through January 23. Next is to
"Analyze [the] feedback in preparation for a second “Definition of PR” summit meeting with [PRSA's] international partners, from which three final definitions will arise for voting by the profession."
Fair enough. So let's look at their three candidate definitions:


Definition No. 1:

Public relations is the management function of researching, engaging, communicating, and collaborating with stakeholders in an ethical manner to build mutually beneficial relationships and achieve results.
I like PR as a management function and the reference to ethics.
I don't care for stakeholders. I know it's probably a decent word choice, but it's just cold to me.


Definition No. 2:

Public relations is a strategic communication process that develops and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their key publics.
I like PR being equated with strategic communication.
I don't really care for the recycling of mutually beneficial relationships concept. I get it, it's a great standard, but I'm not sure it works for what we're trying to do now.


Definition No. 3:

Public relations is the engagement between organizations and individuals to achieve mutual understanding and realize strategic goals.
I like that this definition is only 17 words, it's clear and pretty concise in my opinion.
I don't care for the fact that there is no mention of management function or strategic communication process. That being said, I think No. 3 has the greatest chance of being understood inside (and outside) the industry and captures the logical and distinguishable character of PR.

What do you think? Are any of these three candidate definitions close to being a new solid modern definition for public relations? The comments are yours. (Also, don't forget to share your thoughts on the PR Defined blog via comments before January 23.)

Keep up with the conversation by following the #PRDefined hastag.

Photo credit: splorp via Flickr Creative Commons

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Best Communication Tool: Your Brain

While flipping through my Pulse newsfeed I ran across a headline that required a double-take and click-thru: Coffee Cup Alerts Mount Rainier Campers. I was familiar with the bizarre and tragic story that unfolded last week in Mt. Rainier so I had to see what a coffee cup had to do with things.

On Monday, January 2, four Seattle hikers were enjoying a weekend of winter camping at Mount Rainier National Park when a helicopter buzzed overhead with a mostly incoherent message through a loudspeaker. The campers were unclear as to the pilot's spoken words, so he went to Plan B. He dropped a coffee cup with a warning written in black ink: "A ranger has been shot shooter at large. Call on cell if able to Pierce Co Sheriff."

Communication Win
In addition to things working out in the end for the campers as they made it to safety, I also really like this story from a communication professional's perspective. This is a fantastic reminder that quick-thinking and creative problem-solving are sometimes necessary to get a message across. Those typically faithful effective communication options and channels may fail you when you least expect it. Do whatever it takes to communicate. Be ready for your Plan B.

I think one the comments from the Discovery News post said it best: "This proves (again) that the best tool humans could ever have is brain. With or without technology at hand."

What do you think? As always, the comments are yours.


Photo credit: along with more images and a full report from the campers
(BTW, Pulse is a sweet interactive mobile news aggregator if you're looking for one.)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Hat Tip For PR Triumphs

There's no escaping the glare of ever-present shine of media, masses, and individuals waiting to pounce on the failures of others. As 2011 came to a close, another round-up of listings of public relations blunders made their yearly trek around the interwebs. (Some examples here, here, here, and here.)

This brief Twitter exchange between Shel Holz and Richard Becker got me thinking about the topic:


So let's take a moment to start 2012 with a hat tip to all of the public relations pros who got it right. Congratulations to all of you professionals who achieved strategic communication victories big and small. Great job on deepening those relationships within your communities. Thumbs up for releasing relevant stories and engaging a variety of communication channels.

PR triumphs happen on a regular basis throughout our industry because they represent business as usual for public relations. Often these wins go largely unnoticed.

And that's a good thing.

If an organization's leadership or clients expect business success and acumen from the PR team, then the credibility of our profession is buoyed. When things go wrong, learn from the mistakes (yours and others) and move on to what's next.

Who's with me?

Photo credit: ooberayhay via Flickr Creative Commons