That’s More Like It: Ten Replies to PR Straw Poll

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

What a difference a couple of days — and a little patience — makes.

I’m referring to my little “straw poll” issued earlier this month on the subject of the most pressing issue ahead for the public relations industry.

Public-RelationsIn my post from November 17, I announced that only two loyal readers cast votes. But on review this evening, the final day of November 2015, I’m pleased to announce there are 10 responses! Three visitors selected the “other” option and typed in short thoughts of their own.

To all who participated: Thank you.

You contributed to what should be an ongoing dialogue among public relations professionals on the state of the ever-evolving profession. We need to continually redefine the boundaries of what we do, need to tactfully address situations when “public relations” is misused and confused with some other form of communications.

Now, without further delay, the results:

1. Improved/enhanced measurement: 4 responses or 40%

2. Other: 3 responses or 30%

  • Actually doing PR, instead of just publicity
  • Better integration with the business world
  • Better PR for PR

3. Better integration with other communications disciplines: 2 responses or 20%

4. Need for greater transparency: 1 response or 10%

5. Managing a crisis in a digital world: no responses or 0%

Of course, I would have liked to have received 1,000 or even 100 responses to my poll. (An aside: If you would like to contribute to the conversation, please add a comment when you’re done reading this post.)

But these few answers do offer some very informal primary research on the state of public relations at year-end 2015.

And, of course, I can always revisit this topic next year. I trust there will be something relevant to discuss on the state of public relations.





In Defense of Public Relations: Take That Meghan Daum

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Ah, the New Year.  We wipe the slate clean. We enthusiastically embrace new challenges. We gang tackle the roadblocks thrown haphazardly before us.

Okay. Enough senseless hyperbole.

Columnist and person who needs to get a better grasp of "public relations," Meghan Daum.

Columnist and person who needs to get a better grasp of “public relations,” Meghan Daum.

Today, The PRDude will address an all-too-often misuse of the way “public relations” is employed in written and spoken communications.  The culprit this time is columnist Meghan Daum, a terrific writer and essayist based in California whose work I read regularly in the Chicago Tribune.  (Print edition, of course, as regular followers will attest.)

In a column published Friday, January 4, Ms. Daum takes on one of the world’s most popular social media platforms — Facebook, known for being founded by a guy who likes to wear hoodies and for frequently changing its privacy settings.  She bashes the site over the course of 722 words (thanks Microsoft Word), claiming Facebook has devolved into an online resource that let’s its users:

“Brag brag brag. Bait for compliment. Self-promote. Promote someone else so as to be able to self-promote later. Brag.”

I trust you have grasped the thrust of Ms. Daum’s perspective: Facebook today can be defined as the online equivalent of that Beatles’ song from Let it Be, I Me Mine.”220px-LetItBe

And, The PRDude certainly respect’s her opinions and even supports some in this piece. But, let’s get to the focus of this post.  As, stated by Ms. Daum:

“(Facebook) used to make you feel connected to the world, but now it makes you feel bad about yourself. That’s because it’s becoming less a place for exchanging ideas and more an unmitigated, unapologetic opportunity for public relations.”

Gloves off time, Ms. Daum!

“Public relations” has been defined in many ways by many people.  The Public Relations Society of America (of which I’m a long-time member) has posted a definition of the practice to meet the modern times.  And, there’s definitions printed in textbooks and espoused by those of us who practice public relations.

At its essence, public relations involves communications.  (So far, Ms. Daum is on target.) But at its core, public relations is driven — or it should be — by sound strategies.  I don’t envision a Facebook user who publishes  a “look at the cake I baked today” post being guided by a strategic process.

I’ll stop picking on Ms. Daum, because there are plenty of instances where “public relations” is thrown into the modern lexicon because it seemingly fits. Well, most of the time it doesn’t.  And, it’s up to those of us who practice effective, strategic and ethical public relations to set the record straight.

I welcome comments, including those from Ms. Daum.

Ways to Save After Daylight Saving Time Ends

By Edward M. Bury, APR, (aka The PRDude)

Some time yesterday, most of us set our clocks forward to return to Standard Time, saying “goodbye” to Day Light Saving Time.  (It case you didn’t touch your time pieces, it’s an hour earlier that you think.) The real purpose behind the national initiative, of course, is to take advantage of more daylight hours.

But hey: Aside from tech start-up wizards who get bought out for nine figures or hedge fund managers who probably make that much, we all should be focusing on saving something these days.

As a public service initiative, the PRDude offers these ways to save time– certainly something of value — until we switch back to Daylight Saving Time this fall when we’ll save, well, daylight again.

  • Following the GOP Presidential Race.  Seriously, Mitt Romney pretty much has got the race locked, unless he does or says something really dumb when the primary race moves to a big state like Texas or Illinois.  He’s just got too much of the two “m-words” going for him: Money and momentum.  So why listen to more empty rhetoric until the Republicans meet in Tampa this August.  After weeks and weeks of debates and more recently, the primaries, is there anything of significance that Governor Romney, Senator Santorum or Speaker Gingirch has to say that we haven’t heard? Oh yes, Congressman Paul, too.  Want to spend time following a race that means something to Americans these days?  Read the next item.

  • Deciding on Your Final Four Picks. Yesterday also was “Selection Sunday,” or the day many of us who don’t regularly follow college hoops — me included — start following the game because of the exciting NCAA men’s basketball tournament.  And, the fact that some people actually lay down wagers on the games. Yes, we’re in March Madness, meaning roundball prognosticators will spend hours studying stat after stat right up to the start of First Round play Thursday, March 15 to complete their brackets.  Spend your time this week doing something else because the Final Four will be comprised of Kentucky, Missouri, Syracuse and Kansas. How do I know this?  I have a “system,” which I can’t share because I’m entering two pools.  But please feel free to share any insight on preventing your brackets from being busted too early.

  • Contemplating the True Definition of  “Public Relations.” A couple of days ago, the Public Relations Society of America announced the results of an initiative to offer an “official” definition of “public relations,” the noble communications practice that inspired this blog and continues to be its driving force.  The definition, which was vetted online by the membership from three choices, strikes a responsive chord from The PRDude:  “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Adding “strategic” really solidifies this definition for me; without a defined strategy, what many believe is “public relations” more than likely falls under “publicity.”  Disclaimer: I’m a proud member of PRSA.  The take away from this segment: Now that the world’s largest body governing public relations has defined the practice, allocate time to learn how to be a better practitioner.

What are your suggestions for saving time?  And, don’t say: “Stop wasting time reading blogs like this one!”