Good PR is Good PR. Period.

If you had asked me three years ago what type of work I was in, I would have told you something along the lines of, “Oh, I work in social media PR,” or, “I’m in digital PR.” Like many others, I, too, was caught up in the catchphrases of the day to describe a new line of thinking for our profession.

But I’m starting to shift my thinking back to a simpler, more clear thought on the profession: Good PR is good PR. No matter how you slice it or dice it.

I was reminded of this the other day while reading yet another “This is how we can save PR”-type blog post. You know the type –10 tips for saving the profession, or five ways that social media is transforming PR.

(I don’t mean to say any this with any sarcasm. Social media, digital communications and many other fascinating new concepts in PR have enhanced the profession in profoundly positive ways. Hell, I wouldn’t be where I am now in my career, or at my job, were it not for the fantastic opportunities social media has afforded me.)

But it really doesn’t have to be an either-or scenario; an “Are you in, or are you out?” when it comes to being in the traditional PR versus social media/digital PR camp.

Just do what helps you be successful.

It can be traditional PR (e.g. based in practices some now deride, such as media relations, executive communications, etc.). It can be based in a digital- or social-first focused, such as the great work that the firm Attention PR here in New York City creates (among many other digital-focused PR firms). Or it can be a combination of both . . . or nothing in between.

The bottom line is that great PR doesn’t have to fit into some type of pre-described mold that we all (including myself) seem to keep trying to peg it to. We don’t have to call ourselves a “social PR” guy or gal, or derisively walk away from traditional practices, strategies and tactics that have worked for decades all in the name of impressing clients and colleagues with the savviness of our social media campaigns and our social-first strategies.

We just need to produce great results in an ever-changing environment; one that demands that our profession changes and adapts with the ebb and flow of the public’s and of clients’ desires, demands and influence patterns.

We’re all very fortunate to work in a profession that, thankfully, continues to challenge us with immensely innovative new professionals coming in, new ideas and theories for success and opportunities that enhance our strategic business value. And in my mind, this will continue, so long as we spend a little less time debating the merits of one form of PR versus another, and a little more time simply producing great results.

Simple as that . . . If only it were.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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  • Deborah Trivitt

    I agree, Keith. By definition, public relations means relating to the public. What tools we use to relate to our publics is determined by the tools they use to get information. Good PR means providing accurate information. Remember, those communications models still go both to and from the sender AND the receiver.

  • M Raglon

    PR is changing, however the basic tenets will remain. Social media is great, however, there is nothing like face-to-face interaction when influencing behavior.

    • Exactly. And the nice thing is that face-to-face interaction works no matter what type of PR you are engaged in. Traditional, digital, social or whatever you want to call it, at the end of the day, what has the most influence and the biggest lasting impression on them is when you actually take the time to get to know someone in person.

  • This is a great post. In the stampede to social media, many traditional practices that may still be effective for a number of companies are panned as “extinct,” “out-of-touch” or “old-school” when they are none of those. As your headline notes, Good PR is Good PR — regardless of whether the tactics are “new” or “old.”

    • Couldn’t have said it better myself, Paul. Thanks for chiming in with some additional insight on this.

  • Keith, great post. Period. It’s not about the PR tools. It’s all about the PR talent!

    • Well said, Jeff. The tools are there to help us do a better job and generate great results. Tools don’t necessarily make a great PR practitioner; it’s the level of insight, savvy and work ethic one has to deliver results. And that can be done whether you’re using tried-and-true traditional tactics and strategies, or the latest and greater, or something in between.

  • Anonymous

    Keith – I tell people I talk for a living and that is how I look at whatever you want to describe what it is that we do. Building the relationship is the important thing at the end of the day.

    The frauds will weed themselves out.

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  • Mcermak23

    Great post, Keith. It seems that social media is everything is this day and age, but we can’t ignore all the other components of public relations. We have to stay focused on being great writers, thinkers, and in person communicators. I love social media and want to become better every day with it. But sometimes I just have to take a step back and get back to the basics. This post keeps things in perspective!

  • Jamie Jones

    I agree completely. I feel that people only understand what public relations is when we mention social media. It’s important to remember that so many other elements go into a successful public relations campaign. I find that I forget that at times. We all need to get back to our public relations roots, and remember what makes public relations what it is. Great post!

  • Stephanie

    Thanks for writing this inspiring post. I’m a senior public relations major and after reading books and blogs that call us “spinsters” or tell us how to save our profession, like you said it uplifting to read this. I like that you said “The bottom line is that great PR doesn’t have to fit into some type of pre-described mold that we all (including myself) seem to keep trying to peg it to.” People ask me all the time what exactly you do in public relations and I have a hard time telling them because it’s such a broad field. Thank you again for writing this!

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