It’s April 1st and a day which can be renamed as International Fake News Day. It is also the day people in jest create jokes, rumours and random gossip. Well, in the professional world of Public Relations one cannot afford to either be part of it or succumb to it, all 365 days of the year.
The biggest rumour about PR as a profession has over a period of time been dealt a death blow. And that is about how PR is about media relations. Also, about how it is about wining and dining. These are fallacies and have not survived as concepts because Public Relations is much more.
The trick of excelling in Public Relations is to be subtle and use discretion. Information has to be managed in a discreet way. Ethics also demands that we do not in any way participate in creating or fostering gossip, rumours and fake news.
It is important to understand that at the heart of Public Relations is creating and distributing content. Credibility and creativity play a significant role in ensuring the content reaches the right audience. I wish there was a world body that created a manifesto that every PR professional adopted as his or her own. And right at top would be the Call for Ethical practice.
Half baked professionals who are no good at building smart campaigns may end up resorting to these tactics that do not need deep thinking. But they won’t hold for a long time. Brands often are victims of mudslinging from rival brands. This can happen in informal settings and in formal communication as well. It’s best to start with oneself by creating a personal code of conduct.
Here are ten rules collected from many years of experience and these have worked for many successful PR professionals:
- Talk less, listen more
- Do not give more information than necessary
- Verify information before sharing
- Go through short term pain for long term gain and do not opt for shortcuts
- Avoid derogatory and defamatory language at all time
- Carry yourself in a manner that makes people want to trust you
- Never be the one who gives out gossip
- Only share information that is in the public domain unless you have an approval
- Embrace Chatham House rules for the most part, and lastly
- When in doubt, cut it out
These are handy rules which if followed carefully can save you a lot of stress and make you feel like a proud Public Relations professional.