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March 3, 2011

Why is PR on the payroll, and who cares?

by Tracy L. Teuscher, APR

Buzz of the Month – March 2011

Why is PR on the payroll, and who cares?

Ah, the third of March. It’s a special day as it’s the anniversary of my maternal grandmother’s birth. A grand Irish dame she was, and since the month of March brings with it the remembrance of the Irish, it always seems a perfect day to remember some of grandma’s good advice. She always used to say, and later I realized it was taken from a bible verse, “Darling, don’t cast your pearls before swine lest they be trampled…and you, my darling, are a pearl.”

What does that have to do with PR you say?

Everything, I say. Public relations is the pearl in the marketing and communications crown. Nothing achieves the organizational messaging goals and establishes and protects company reputation better, stronger, or faster or with a  better return on investment. Like Super Woman, public relations soars through the stream of inaccurate and incomplete information in the marketplace to educate, inform, and raise awareness and looks good doing it. Public relations has the power to engage all major publics including key influencers, thought leaders, and early adopters. From current and prospective customers, to community leaders and the media, public relations immediately goes to work to create or enhance awareness, differentiate your company from the competition, set the record straight, and define the reasons why people should care.

Who really cares, and why should they?

When considering your services or your client, ask yourself this question in two ways. First, ask this question as it relates to the public relations service that is being provided. Why is PR on the payroll? Who cares, and why should they? If you are a PR professional, ask this question all the time, and make sure you can answer it confidently as it relates to the services you provide, the results that you deliver, and the unique set of both personal and professional attributes you bring to the table that are of value to your client. Then, ask this question as it relates to your client.

Why are you, the public relations pearl, working with this particular client or company? Who cares?

Does your boss or your client care about the fact that you are providing them with a superior service that assists them in accomplishing a variety of organizational goals with an incredible ROI? If they don’t, go back to the first time we asked this question and make sure you’re doing your job to educate and inform folks about the value of what you do. It’s a formidable job, but it comes with the territory. Take a hard honest look at areas where you might be able to improve here, and develop a plan to do just that. Look at ways you can provide additional information, schedule opportunities to review progress, or engage other influential voices within the organization to help you tell this important story. As public relations professionals, we are often so busy doing the job that we fall down a bit here.

Okay, so you’ve asked the questions. Now what?

If you ask these questions and find that what you’re really dealing with is an exhausting, impossible, and unprofitable client, then you should consider firing them. That’s right, I said it. When a client is costing you excessive time and energy, or if they are impossible to please and will never truly understand the value of what you do, then firing this client and replacing them with another can actually boost your company’s revenue, not to mention lower your blood pressure and improve your quality of life.

This exercise can effectively be applied to a variety of business scenarios with equally revealing results, so give it a try. And, as my grand Irish grandmother always used to say, “Darling, don’t cast your pearls before swine lest they be trampled…and you, my darling, are a pearl.”

Copyright 2011, Tracy L. Teuscher, The Buzz Maker! LLC.

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