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When you work in PR, you are often faced with the question, “What do you do?” And this can be a challenge, because if you give someone the text-book definition of PR, they will end up even more confused. I had one former boss who told me to simply say I work in advertising, because it was easier for people to understand.
I once tried to explain the importance of PR, by using the example of Hyundai cars, which have long had the reputation for being cheap and unreliable, although that is changing. I also pointed out that this was such a problem that the company created a whole new brand, Genesis, to market luxury cars. The idea was that people wouldn’t pay top-dollar prices for a Hyundai. While this may have gotten the message across, it also took about 10 minutes!
I have also handled this question by simply saying, “I boost company’s profiles in the media,” which is fairly accurate. However this leaves out an important part of PR. Apart from boosting companies profiles we also boost credibility.
PR is more than just writing news releases, it’s about positively enhancing a company’s brand. And smart CEOs are aware of the importance of good PR. As much as the ever-shrinking media is maligned, it still carries credibility. I became aware of this when a former client who was the CEO of a startup said, “I want to be able to walk into a new funding meeting with a stack of clips.” She realized the importance of her company receiving positive exposure in publications such as Entrepreneur and The Wall Street Journal.
In the minds of potential investors positive write ups by blue-chip media outlets must mean a company is on the right track. In addition, exposure in widely-read or seen publications increases the awareness of a company’s product.
So when people ask you, “What is PR?,” maybe we should say we are credibility experts. I think it might be time for a change in the definition of PR.
Manny Otiko, founder of Otiko Communications, has worked in the public relations and journalism field for about 15 years as a journalist and a media relations specialist. His experience includes stints as a reporter at a daily newspaper, serving as a media relations specialist for a state agency and working for several Southern California public relations agencies.
Manny has worked with clients in the public affairs, technology, education and economic development fields. He has secured coverage in publications such as The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, CNN.com and Men’s Health.
Manny has been published in The Riverside Press Enterprise, The LA Sentinel, The LA Wave, The Washington Afro-Am, IE Weekly and Our Weekly. He is an active member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the Black Journalists’ Association of Southern California.
He is currently promoting Christopher Otiko’s medical thriller “Santa,” which is available as an ebook. “Santa” is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And it is currently available via PayPal for $1.99. (E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.) For more information visit Author Christopher Otiko on Facebook. To read the first chapters of “Santa,” go to http://bit.ly/santaebook