Books and articles abound with suggestions and theories about the best way to operate and execute public relations. I have found that the most useful guidelines, however are often the simplest. Below are a short review of some of these rules of operation.
- Make sure that you are using the correct tools. If a situation calls for a press conference, when there is substantial media interest and the need for a personal appearance, then act appropriately. When a few targeted phone calls can have the same effect do not waste valuable time and resources with such an event.
- Stay up on the news. Simple, I know, but nothing is more potentially embarrassing as a comment or statement ignorant of relevant current events. A public relations professional working on any given subject should be aware of any recent developments on said subject. Modern technology makes this extremely easy – a simple Google News Search can deliver the most up to date information on almost any subject.
- Keep your goals in mind. This means both short-term objectives and long-term goals. Before taking any significant action ask yourself: what will be the result of this action? Will it contribute to our long-term success? Is it consistent with our communications strategy at large?
- Maintain writing standards! Words are the bread and butter and the chief tool of any PR department. Things like excessive punctuation, improper use of the passive voice and misspellings are anathema to journalists who are under the same standards. Don’t take too much pride in your work – having others look it over before publishing is never a bad idea. Don’t rely too much on interns and subordinates to generate your copy. When in doubt, you can always consult the AP Styleguide. Also, try these top tips for editing press releases.
- Be honest. There is a difference between spin and deception, between argument and obfuscation. Despite how tempting it may be to veer from the truth most seasoned public relations professionals will tell you that lying will eventually come back to bite you in the a**. You can take this sentiment further by encouraging honest and ethical practices across your entire organization.