“John” on Quora asks
:When someone tells you that Public Relations amounts to little more than writing press releases and making a few press calls, how can one go about persuading the individual otherwise?
The first question you should ask yourself, is who is this “someone” telling you what public relations is? If they believe that it involves nothing more than press releases and a few press calls, they are clearly not a practitioner themselves or anyone that you should worry about justifying your profession to.
However, if this individual is a stakeholder in your organization, then it is your responsibility to clearly illustrate to them the business value of public relations. Their naivety is your window of opportunity to negotiate your seat at the table.
Public relations is about building and maintaining relationships with all outside publics. At times, this means securing media stories to announce a new product, shape the organization’s reputation, or establish key personnel (or the company) as thought-leaders within a specific vertical. However, media relations itself is just one part of PR, and the press release, is often the end of the process, not the beginning.
However, all “publics” means all publics. As PR professionals, it is up to us to identify and open lines of communication with key external stakeholders (e.g. potential partners, etc.), and to build bridges between internal ones, (e.g. different departments). We help to drive help streamline companies and drive efficiency by fostering collaboration between all parties.
And when times of crisis erupt, we’re the ones most prepared to handle it, because, well we have been preparing for it. And we’ll be able to utilize our internal relationships to make sure the proper designation of key messages and leverage our external contacts for third-party support.