Public Relations Is Not Just For PR Pros
If a company hires a public relations firm and then sits back and expects the PR firm to work magic, the company will be terribly disappointed. Effective public relations is not a job — it is a process. It is not just writing news releases and doing special events. And, it is not the sole responsibility of the public relations director or the PR firm that represents the company. It is much more.
Good public relations starts with the first contact with a customer, client or the public. This means it starts with the phone call. If a receptionist is rude, inattentive or just plain incompetent, that sends a message to the caller, and its not the message they want to receive. That’s why smart companies pay close attention to hiring the best person they can to answer their phones; not the least expensive. We all know how we appreciate a receptionist who is helpful and competent when we are calling a company. If good public relations starts with the receptionist, then it certainly carries through to every department including accounting, human resources and even interns. Customers, clients and vendors want to be treated like they matter, and there is no better public relations than treating people well and being helpful.
I remember at my first job as marketing director for a large real estate development corporation when we hired a PR firm to represent us. One day the account executive at the PR firm called the CEO of the company to ask a question. The CEO’s assistant said he was on the other line – certainly not unexpected for someone running a multi-million dollar business. But the PR account executive was determined to get through and was rude to the assistant. She held her ground and said the CEO couldn’t be disturbed. When he was off the line, the assistant gave her boss the message along with a comment as to how she was treated on the phone by our PR rep. My boss thought that if that is how his PR firm treats their clients, he didn’t want them representing his company. He promptly returned the call to terminate them. Along with the many PR and marketing services our firm offers, we also offer public relations staff training to give a sense of public relations to all employees of a company or an organization. Our clients have found this to be an invaluable service and makes everyone PR savvy. So remember….PR is not just one person’s job. It is everybody’s.