I’m often asked: What exactly is public relations?
Some define PR as the art and social science of analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organizational leaders, and implementing planned programs of action, which will serve both the organization and the public interest. Stay with me now…
Others define it as the practice of managing communication between an organization and its publics. However you define it, public relations undoubtedly provides an organization or individual exposure to their audiences using topics of interest to garner a third-party endorsement, ideally without payment. We call it “earned” media (vs. “paid” media our friends in advertising get). Common PR activities include speaking at conferences, events, working with the media, crisis communications, social media engagement, and employee communication.
OK Chad, thanks for the lesson on PR, now how can this help me? Why should I care? Well, can you imagine yourself as a company? Your own organization? Do you feel you have something to offer anyone? If so, PR can help you achieve your goals…personal or professional.
Did you know the “grandfather of public relations”, Edward Bernays, was the nephew of Sigmund Freud? He based many of the core principals of PR on the psychoanalytical studies on crowd control. There is a science to PR. Ahhh but you say, “I’m not famous and I’m surely not an organization!” Settle down. This will all come together soon enough, trust me. PR is all about promoting goodwill between yourself and the “public”, whoever the public is to you. It may not be the masses, it may just be your small circle of friends or family. Next you may ask if PR involves crisis and scandal? Sometimes it does, but hopefully for this exercise the only crisis we need to deal with may be your own ‘internal’ crisis of ego.
I’m all about action these days, thus the various exercises I try to give you guys in my posts. I hope you’ll play along. Think of this as a creativity exercise, which is really what it is. You have a grasp of PR and a personal passion. Even if it’s a pipe dream you’ve never told anyone about…have some fun. Maybe you always wanted to open a coffee shop or a dance studio. Unimagined dreams of becoming a henna tattoo artist or a clown? Weekend poetry slam events or a lemonade stand?
Write a press release on yourself! What the heck is a press release? Well, not to get too technical, but a press release, news release, media release, press statement or video release is a written or recorded communication directed at members of the news media for the purpose of announcing something ostensibly newsworthy. Typically, they are mailed, faxed, or e-mailed to assignment editors at newspapers, magazines, radio stations, television stations, and/or television networks. This press release will be JUST FOR YOU…hang it on your fridge or by your desk for inspiration.
I’m not going to go into the nitty gritty about HOW to write a press release, there are plenty or resources online (see below). It’s easy and only has to be one page (longer if you choose). Remember, this is fun and it doesn’t have to be perfect…it’s just a way to get your passion out of your mind and into reality (just a baby step, no need to distribute your press release to news media…not yet anyway).
Assignment 2: Tell us what your “headline” is in the comment section below…