This is the final topic of the week for Public Relations Fundamentals. I have to reflect on three key learnings I have taken away from this class and on how working on the Canadian Museum for Human Rights project has informed my learnings of the PR process.
The first thing I did before writing this assignment was brainstorm words and phrases I learned in this course.
Create significant relationships Understand the meaning of two-way communication Blogging How to stay current — Resourceful class Be more open to the PR world How to see social media as another useful tool for PR Content matters Engagement — Create a culture from there Empower people — Analyze the audience — Understand the audience Listen Simple act of sharing RACE — Strong foundation
All of these words and phrases are connected and are part of PR. The three topics that have impacted me most are:
Social Media and Blogging
From a PR perspective, social media is important and, therefore, a big part of this class – which I like. I learned to think of social media as a way to connect with people, to share what you need or want to say, and to learn and listen what other people need or want to share. Seth Godin’s thoughts about social media reflect my new understanding of this tool well.
“Social media is either a time-wasting, wool-gathering, yak-shaving waste of effort or, perhaps, just maybe, it’s a crack in the wall between you and the rest of the world. It’s a choice… up to you.
If you’re keeping score of how many followers you have, how many comments you get or how big your online footprint is, then you’re measuring the wrong thing and probably distracting yourself from what matters.
On the other hand, digital media can offer you a chance to make real connections, to earn permission and gain insights from people you’d never have a chance to interact with any other way.”
Through the writing assignments for our blogs, I have learned to think about our audience and how to connect with it, the importance of having content that is relevant. Engagement is part of that connection, because it shows that the conversation has begun — two-way-communication. How to engage people is the key in any campaign.
Social media and blogging need to follow a strategy that engages people while integrating with the PR campaign.
RACE formula is the foundation of any campaign. RACE formula stands up for Research, Analyze, Communicate, and Evaluate. If any of these steps is skipped when a campaign is being planned, something important will be missed. I read in the Harvard Business Review that “accomplished people reach their goals because of what they do, not just who they are.” We need to take time to research and analyze to make sure the message is understood. Furthermore, we cannot rely only on the Internet when researching. We have to contact people, ask questions, and look for answers from both primary and secondary resources. Our analysis has to be done from different angles, and we can get our best results by discussing all the findings with our team.
Listening: Empower people — Analyze the audience — Understand the audience
When developing a strategic PR campaign, always listen what your client has to say in general and, in particular, about its audience. We need to understand who the target audience is and what the target audience needs and/or wants. Listening – to stakeholders, audience, everyone – is a fundamental part of a good communication strategy. Listening allows us to engage with and connect to our audience by understanding its attitudes and behaviour. Listening as research is part of the foundation of a good PR plan.
Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) project
Research, Analyze, Propose, Research, Analyze, Propose…
First, you research and analyze the result, and you think that you have a good understanding of the challenge; you come up with ideas for your strategy, and you find that others are doing the same. You realize that you have not created anything really new. At this point, you feel disappointed, because you do not understand how your campaign will make a difference. So, you need to go deeper with your analysis and perhaps do more research. You ask, “What is the real purpose of the campaign?”
Be Part of a Team
Being part of a team is not easy. Each team member may have a different goal or different expectations for the project. The key to team success is to communicate effectively with one another. This includes assignments, project status, progress, results, expectations, and passion.
There is a lot of pressure when it comes time to present your idea to a real client. You want to be good, you want to be creative, and you want to be the best. Sometimes it helps to forget that you are dealing with a real client and instead focus on your work and your team to create a sense of community.
As a final thought, I have found an analogy between publishing and PR. What I love about publishing is that the process is the same for each project, but each project has new challenges — new authors, content, and design. PR is similar. The process (that is, fundamentals) is the same for each campaign. Each campaign, however, has new challenges — different clients, goals, audience, and tactics.