I’ve been told it’s nothing to worry about. They say my years in media make up for my lack of formal education in public relations. Still, I’ve felt the need to fill in some of the gaps. I’ve been reading all the advice I can get. That includes Putting the Public Back in Public Relations by Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge. It covers the transition from “old PR” to PR 2.0 and outlines ways to avoid being seen as a spammer or annoying flack. The authors say social media must be championed by PR. We’re no longer throwing messages at audiences and hoping something sticks. Instead, we’ll initiate conversations with people and listen to what they have to say. PR 2.0.
I knew PR had been undergoing a transformation. (That’s something I expounded on during my various meetings and interviews during my job search a few months ago.) But I didn’t realize there was a crisis. The profession has apparently lost so much respect, the reputation of PR professionals might be beyond repair.
As a reporter, I worked with lots of PR people. I’ll simply say some of them were more skilled in media relations than others. The newsroom would laugh at them sometimes, and typically someone would announce that any of us would be able to work in PR without much trouble. I was never one of those reporters who vilified PR pros. In fact, I was a bit taken aback last year when fellow journalists admonished me for joining “the dark side.”
Now I know public relations is much more than churning out press releases. My current hurdle is reminding my co-workers of that fact. I’m finally beginning to develop strategy for some clients, and for these first couple plans, I’m going by the book. I integrate social media whenever possible, and always fight to avoid “spamming” reporters. With every PRSA meeting, webinar and textbook, I’m learning to find my way in the world of PR 2.0.
I wonder if there’s a book on how to transition from newsroom to agency, creating a new position in a changing and unfamiliar field.
As always, stay tuned. Perhaps I’ll have to write it myself.