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The Three P’s of PR

January 1, 2009

At the end of 2008, many of my friends in the public relations world felt that the P in PR was changing from “public” to “people”. While I agree that this is a valid point, as building and maintaining relationships is the base of PR, I think the “P” can actually be broken into three different sections.

1. Promotion

Yes, it’s a dreaded word to the PR pros. I have had many cringe-worthy moments where PR undergrads say that they are “party planners” and all they want to do is meet celebrities and “promote” things. I heard it even more as an intern for two major movie studios. But promotion can also be a positive word and something essential to the field. Everyday, I promote the organization I work for, whether it is when I talk to a current or potential member, or through media relations, or even when asked by a fellow practicioner what I do. If we don’t believe in the organization or the account that we work for, can we truly build positive relationships (the next step) if we don’t have that base of promotion? Promotion is the belief in something, and when you talk about it, that passion comes through in your voice and makes people want to listen to what you’re saying even more.

2. People

People are essential to public relations: they are, in fact, those that we relate to most on a daily basis. When I worked in an agency, the people relationships I worked on building were my fellow co-workers, the account people I talked to and the media in the related fields. With my co-workers, I would go to lunch and talk with them about everything from the field, to their personal interests and what they thought of current events. The account people that I did talk to, I would send updates, cards for birthdays, etc. For media, it wasn’t just when I needed to pitch them a story or needed to give them an exclusive, it was checking in every so often to see what type of stories they were doing, and if I saw a story they wrote that I liked, I would send them an email and let them know that. For my organization, it can be a little different – every event I promote, every different type of award, or new project, or member accomplishment – always has different media outreach, so the opportunity to build relationships isn’t always there on the local level. Nationally, it can be a little easier because it is usually the same. 

3. Public

Sure, the talk has been that the P is changing from public. But before we completely change the perspective, I think we need to remember that the P standing for public is an important part of PR. The public and how they perceive your organization or client is imperative – whether positive or negative.  How the public views either of those impacts how you a.) promote your client or organization b.) media and social media strategy  c.) the type of marketing materials and press releases you put out to the public. One negative or one positive can have a domino effect, and it all depends on how you respond to it.

So, there you have it – what I think the P stands for in PR, broken into 3 P’s: Promotion, People and Public. What does the P stand for you?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 1, 2009 6:18 pm

    Hi Lauren, Like your breakdown. Particularly the part about promotion. People sometimes think of promotion as a dirty word. Like most things in PR, if it’s done the right way, strategically and respectfully, promotion can be a great thing.

  2. January 8, 2009 8:06 pm

    I like your thoughts here. I would add a couple more words to the post brought to you by the letter “P” – Personality and passion.

    Personality is that by which your organization/company can become authentic in the eyes of your stakeholders.

    Passion can go along with your thoughts on promotion.

    btw, I look forward to seeing where you take this new blog.


    • January 8, 2009 8:10 pm

      Great point – if we don’t have passion for what we do as pros, or the personality to show that passion, then what are we doing? I believe media and in the assoc. sector, members, respond much better when a personality is present.

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