Eyes are rolling all over London, New York, Lagos and wherever else there are modern PR advisers at the suggestion the craft can be mastered with three steps (see below).
That's not us being precious. It's us being honest with the businesses and causes that hire us to help them engage with the public.
There's nothing wrong with Mr. Esuga's recommendations. Personal contact, careful follow-up and good timing are all important aspects of media relations, which in turn is often a key part of a PR strategy.
But to boil down a management discipline as complex and nuanced as contemporary public relations to a few etiquette tips is not unlike suggesting the key to a healthy diet comes down to where the cutlery is placed on the table.
It's a little more complicated than that.
So I would offer six not-so-simple considerations for those hoping to use PR to grow their business or solve a problem:
- Define your purpose/vision/reason for existing. Then identify as clearly as you can the barriers and enablers of success.
- Understand who has a stake in your success and what they expect of you. Employees? Investors? Customers? Supply-chain partners? What do they need to know or believe about you to be willing to engage?
- What value can you offer to make your proposition stand out? Or better yet, what can you co-create with your stakeholders? Information? Convenience? Savings? Happiness? Better health?
- Define the way(s) in which your stakeholders prefer to be engaged. Sure, sometimes it can be through the media, making journalists key gatekeepers. But there are lots of other ways to connect, and many - social media, events and good old-fashioned advertising can all be appropriate in different circumstances.
- Communicate your heart out. Connect with passion and authenticity and transparency. You're after more than 'exposure' - you're asking others to come along on a journey with you.
- Evaluate, rinse and repeat. Set measurable objectives for your efforts and evaluate your success. Modify the things that can be improved. Cut the ones that aren't working. Double down on those that are.
It's not rocket science. But it's not kids play, either.
PR is all about the impressions you make. As famed historian Daniel Boorstin put it, "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers." However, PR is not just about creating a positive impression with the public. It's also about creating a positive impression with the media, since journalists are the gatekeepers between businesses and the public.