Wow, the year hasn’t even ended we’re getting another shellacking. I’m referring to the Economist’s potshot-riddled article, titled “The Rise of Image Man” that paints PR people (curiously referring to PR people as men when PR is a female-dominated field) as manipulators, spin doctors and generally inferior folk who still can’t get a seat at the head of the corporate table. I think the article is a reflection of a built-in animus some journalists have for public relations. But that is beside the point. The fact is that regardless of the motivations of the writer and/or publication the article is a hack job.PR people can smell a rat and the comments section of the publication’s website calls the anonymous author to account for his misrepresentation of a profession that bears little resemblance to the bamboozling tactics the article discusses.Certainly B2B public relations as we and our follow colleagues practice it has nothing to do with the spin, manipulation and press release peddling of the Economist article, and everything to do with strategy and content-creation to get our clients visibility and credibility. Central to what we do is making our clients’ work accessible to their audience. That means creating messages that accurately (no we don’t spin what they do) and clearly spell out what they do and why anyone should care. As I have mentioned before, it’s similar to creating a personal brand for an individualToday, so much of the public relation’s job has bypassed the media. Perhaps, that is part of the Economist’s shrill tone. Much of what we do for our clients today is creating content – everything from website copy, by-lined articles, speeches, podcasts, case studies, white papers, newsletters – that helps articulate our clients’ thought leadership. Beyond that we help promote our clients in social media and reach out to media and influencers on their behalf. At the end of the day, it is all about establishing a dialogue and engaging end users – much of it no longer done through the filter of the mediaNone of which is to say that we don’t seek out media and place articles. While that is still an important part of what we do, it is getting to be a smaller component given all the other work we doToday’s PR person has become a combination of publisher, content creator and relationship builder, in addition to the more traditional media relations role. If anything, our job has become more complex, far-reaching and ultimately, can I dare say, more important as the scope and reach of what we do has become so much broaderIt’s an extremely exciting time to be in PR and, I for one, very much look forward to its continuing evolution. A happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to you! What do you see ahead in public relations in 2011?
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Wendy Marx, B2B Publications and Marketing Communications Specialist, Marx Communications.
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