Lori Merricks spoke to our class about her work in the field of public relations at Luckie & Company. Lori said that it was important to know what PR reps really do so she gave a couple examples of what PR is not. It’s not the department whose sole purpose is to write, edit and haw press releases. Is not 100% controllable, an avenue for event planners, the adversary of media, publicity, advertising, for bad writers. However, public relations is about results, placements and hits. It’s a strategic function that uses research, analysis and planning to develop smart campaigns. A conversation starter and prolonger. About genuine human connections. An expert in their client’s industry. Able to outline crisis communication strategies and implement them. An industry for writers, researchers, lovers of communication and news. PR matters more than ever because what others say about you is more important than what you say about yourself. Contact books need to be updated to include a new generation of media influences. PR is still about media relationships but it’s also about public relationships. It’s evolved from messaging to igniting conversations. It’s a conversations starter and prolonger.
Lori said that there were seven top skills needed for PR representatives: writing, listening, focusing, delivering and pitching ideas, credibility/ “findablility” and measurement. Public Relations is about getting the “hit”. News is changing dramatically, so it’s important to tell the story behind the product. Know the story, prove it, and have a clear call to action. No matter how digital the world becomes of the success of a PR processional will be measured by their ability to land the front page of USA today.
She said that above all it is important to read as much as you can about the market and know the consumers better than they know themselves. Lori had some interesting things to say and she wasn’t afraid to skip the sugar-coating.