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PR 101: People Relations Vs Public Relations

PR 101: People Relations vs Public Relations

PR & Publicity is a caffeinated way to brew brand awareness or “buzz.” By building authority and providing value to your ideal audiences, you present yourself as an expert in your field. This creates opportunities for building strategic relationships and partnerships within your community and verticals.

PR & Publicity requires a blend of planning, research & development, and the right publicist to attract the attention you deserve. And, of course, coffee to inspire creativity.

Although we live in a noise-driven digital world, at the end of the day, the media still loves buzz-worthy stories! I believe that every brand or business has a story and that story wants to be heard.

When you think about the basic framework of what Public Relations represents, PR is one of the most strategic ways to take the main ingredients of a story and expand them into the full picture. Each piece is the looking-glass into the ever-evolving progression around the person or entity the story is based around, and the roles that they play. At the end of the day, people resonate with what connects and offers value to them personally. Not only does PR represent the story of a business, but it represents the connections, and thus relationships, that are developed in the process.

Good PR (or what I call People-Relations) is not only about caffeinated pitches but also about building the relationship with your media influences. Whether it’s how you start a conversation with them in person, through social media, or in your pitches, the value and nurturing that value you bring — even to that initial conversation — bridges the connection between the story you are pitching and how it can resonate with the one receiving. Whether it be online or offline, building a community of media influences that support your initiatives leads to much greater opportunities and synergies in both the content and execution.

Now, to cover the method to my brewing process: Believe it or not, there is a lot of psychology that goes into PR (and people-relations). The method of my community-building and pitch writing is quite simple. I build my pitching around the ways that I connect with people in my community, as both a professional and as a human being (not a human-doing). Here are some of my key focuses:

Communication Style

When it comes to your pitch, your message should resonate with the person who is reading it. Think about a time when you sat down to read your favorite book or article. What did you feel? When we read a piece of content, our minds adventure through a variety of feelings, thoughts, and emotions all at once. When it comes to your pitching, the reader should feel some type of emotion with the message you are conveying in that pitch.

Secondly, think about your ideal communication style. Are your emails personable? Are they overtly direct with a tone that is formatted in what feels like a “placement-demand”? In my workshops, I put a key emphasis on keeping your approach personal and light. Go in with the mindset & heart of never making assumptions or setting expectations that your pitch is going to be placed. Lead into each pitch as a means to connect (via your communication) with your media contact and allow the conversation to flow as it’s meant to.

Mindfulness & Emotion

In a recent meeting with a client, we discussed the current terrain, specifically in regards to how we plan to address media fluctuations and changes currently. The takeaway from this conversation was impactful. In moments of high emotionally-driven media, it’s important to keep the emotions of others in mind. The media we consume has a direct impact on our mental health, so it’s important to be cognizant of that overall, especially prior to moving forward with any media outreach. Here is a direct quote from this conversation:

“Always be sensitive and cognizant of the current situations that are taking place in the media world. As you address what you’re hoping to cover and why, keep in mind that the editors of the media outlet you’re pitching to may be struggling with the current climate or have undergone changes that impact their focus, interest areas, response time, etc.

In a moment of any potential crisis, be patient. If you don’t hear back from an outlet right away, be sure to give ample time before following up. Everyone is impacted differently and this may change what a ‘normal’ response time looks like. During challenging times, be willing to give others the benefit of the doubt, especially if what you’re pitching is not pressing news.

Consider that where you are—emotionally, physically, financially—may not be where others are. While it’s fine to still send pitches, be conscious of the word choice you use and be careful not to speak of a collective experience, as others may not be in this same position or have a similar ‘new normal.’” – Marisa Donnelly, Writer, Editor, Writing Coach at Be A Light Collective, a writing/editing and educational services business based in San Diego, California.

Energy & Personality

As publicists or media consumers, we experience energy in many forms. The way we connect to people is a direct reflection of how we connect to ourselves and our work. We are energetic beings, and that energy is often elevated through the creative work we execute. When I visualize how I show up in my work —as a content creator, storyteller, and a publicist — this work portrays a personality & energy that is radiant. That energy rarely flows from a “lack” or scarcity mentality.

That same energy should be a reflection of the relationships we build with others.

There will always be opportunities for placement, for clients, and for greater financial freedom. Because media is so prevalent in our lives, I’ve seen where the industry has adapted roles that demonstrate either a victim-mentality approach to not landing media, or opportunity. I’ve seen the cut-throat dynamic of competition rule over collaboration & true connection. But when we come from a heart-centered place of service, we are not only able to have a deeper connection to our work and the clients we are working with, but the energy in our relationships and our process is much more aligned.

Integrity & Truth

As people, we connect more with others who remain true to themselves and are authentic in their truth. We live in a time where #fakenews is prevalent in our lives. I am a big advocate of being intentional when it comes to the media I consume, but most importantly the media I distribute. We as change-leaders need to approach our PR (and People-Relations) with the act of listening to the needs of our communities in order to understand before seeking to just “respond” through the pitches we are sending. I have found that by always speaking with integrity and truth through both the conversations I have with my community and the content I create on behalf of my clients always encompasses this approach.

The most influential brands or individuals listen and connect with their communities through truth & love. If I could give one piece of advice on this matter, it would be to always speak with compassion while intentionally keeping others’ emotions in mind. The people we collaborate with open the door to opportunities. We are at a time where we need to encourage ideas and challenge others to think beyond their own experiences. As thought leaders, there is no greater purpose than building these connections and sharing these stories.

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Like Ashley’s People Relations approach? Tune into her live series, Coffee Babble, which can be found on her website HERE to hear more about her unique approach to PR. Ready to turn your PR from “public relations” to “people relations”? Sign in to your account to make and submit your next “people-focused” pitch. Not a member? Sign up to get started! We cannot wait to review it and take your PR to the next level!

Ashley Graham

Ashley is a PR + Brand Strategist with a passion for coffee, media collaborations, and connection. To Ashley, every brand has a unique story and she is on a mission to connect these stories to the media. Ashley specializes in bringing the “buzz” to her client's stories through innovative content and branding strategies, public and media relations, and community outreach and engagement.

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