In This Era of Fake News, Let’s Remember the Impact of Fake PR

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

Long before the idea of “fake news” — otherwise known as “lies,” “falsehoods,” “misinformation” or “conjecture” — became part of the national lexicon, there was a mistrust by some regarding information disseminated by traditional print and broadcast media sources.

Lots of things, including public relations practices, are “fake” these days. Image courtesy of Slate.

Now, of course, with digital communications fully ensconced in modern society and the national conversion embroiled in mistrust of who’s ever on the other side, “fake news” is part of the new normal and more than likely will be forever.

This prompted me to ponder communications from another perspective, that being, communications originating from public relations professionals. And, in this case, I employ the “professionals” qualifier with trepidation related to some.

Perhaps it’s time to address the “fake” premise in another way — that being “fake PR.”

Actually, there’s a communications company based in Berlin, Germany named Fake PR.  Not sure why this name was selected, but according to the company’s website, it maintains an impressive client base and lists 14 services under the public relations category.

And, in researching this post, I found a few articles on the subject, including this well-crafted piece published earlier this year by Forbes.

So, what exactly constitutes providers of “fake PR” services? Here, in totally random order, are some qualifiers to consider:

  • Void of strategic direction and use of research.
  • Reliant on vanity metrics for demonstrating progress or success.
  • Failure to recognize the evolution and growth of strategic public relations in the 21st century.
  • Focused primarily or entirely on media relations and publicity.
  • Violation of or lack of awareness for established ethical standards.
  • Absence of any formal or voluntary education in public relations or communications within the account team.
  • Not comprehending the difference between public relations and marketing or advertising.
  • Distribution of news releases, social media posts and web content that lack news value or are erroneous.
  • Failure to recognize that public relations professionals provide strategic counsel that transcends the perfunctory, specifically media relations.
  • And, equating public relations with propaganda.

These thoughts hopefully will inspire others to comprehend the idea of “fake PR” and continue the dialogue.

Now, it’s your turn: What can you add to this discussion?

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The PRDude has tackled this subject before. Here are a few posts to revisit:

 

 

 

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A Guide to PR 101 … And Then Some

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

Those of us who contribute to the blogosphere certainly appreciate getting recognized for our contributions.

I certainly do.

techfunction1That’s why I was honored to receive an email from business writer Phoebe Parlade, inspired to reach out after reading a 2016 PRDude post.  Phoebe, who writes for the U.K. magazine TechFunction, thought I would be interested in reviewing an online report designed to guide business owners on how to incorporate strategic public relations.

Well, I am the PRDude and I was flattered that my humble blog inspired this inquiry. And, I sort of covered this topic in a post from March of this year.

The report, “What Is Public Relations?,” is a very cool and valuable digital resource that provides insight and information to business owners — or anyone who wants to better comprehend public relations.  (And, for the record, the resource is produced by TechFunction.)

Visitors to the site will learn an accurate definition of the practice and some relevant history dating from ancient times to today. The section on relevant modern PR quotes features tweets from leading practitioners and thought leaders, including my amazing Chicago friend and colleague Gini Dietrich, profiled in this space in 2015.  And, the content that addresses public relations in the digital age provides a solid analysis of the impact of digital in shaping and controlling the modern conversation.

And, as one would anticipate, there’s a large amount of content that addresses strategies and tactics.  I concur with much of what is presented, but wouldn’t advise business owners to follow the link to the press release template and follow the advice presented.  My advice is to hire a seasoned public relations professional for this task. Drafting a compelling news story/release is not a paint-by-numbers exercise.

But what struck home for me was this: Throughout the report, the authors drive home the fact that public relations is a strategic process and “more aligned with the management of all relationships and communication between an organization and the public.”

Well said, indeed.

 

Crowdsourcing for Help on Public Relations Job Search Stragegic Plan

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

Visit my web site (for Edward M. Bury, APR, not The PRDude) and read my personal “tag line” of sorts:  “A Modern Strategic Communicator Steeped in Old-School Traditions.” The two key words from that passage to focus on for this post are “modern” and “strategic.”

My plan to secure that next great job in public relations is based on sound strategies and will incorporate modern forms of communications when appropriate.

crowdsourcing-525x350Crowdsourcing is one of those new online ways that’s pretty simple in concept. And, apparently, it has worked.  So, I’m trying it.  For the uninitiated, here’s a great definition of the concept:

“Simply defined, crowdsourcing represents the act of a company or institution taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined (and generally large) network of people in the form of an open call. This can take the form of peer-production (when the job is performed collaboratively), but is also often undertaken by sole individuals. The crucial prerequisite is the use of the open call format and the large network of potential laborers.”  (Source: article by Jeff Howe, 2006 Wired Magazine.)

So, here’s what I have in mind:  Below is an outline for my plan to to land a new job in public relations.  I’d like crowdsourcing-cartoonto “crowdsource” replies and feedback from the blagosphere, and beyond should any alien beings have insight to share.

Without further ado, my plan.

Goal: Secure a senior-level position in Chicago with a progressive company, agency or association where I’ll be challenged to use my strategic public relations, communications and management skills to help realize a mission and build revenues.

Strategies: Leverage my knowledge, skills and abilities in the B2B arena, with a concentration in the real estate industry.  Accentuate my dedication to the public relations profession through volunteer work on behalf of PRSA Chicago and by one of 5,000 practitioners to hold the Accreditation in Public Relations credential.  Showcase my outstanding oral and written communication skills.

images crowdObjectives: Secure at least five job or informational interviews monthly with decision-makers.  Grow referral base to add at least two new sources monthly.  Receive at least three job offers by August, 2013.

As for specific tactics, I’ll hold off on sharing those until after I get some feedback from you.  And, I know: that third objective is quite optimistic.  But, hey, what’s the alternative?  To be pessimistic?  That’s not happening because I remain very confident that I have value in today’s market.

Now it’s your turn in this experiment.  Let the crowdsourcing begin.