Don Bates, APR, Fellow PRSA
To write better in professional PR, we need a clear understanding of why we write in the first place – why, in effect, we’re paid to do what we do and what’s expected in return by those who employ us.
Knowing this helps us to focus our purpose and content; strengthen the intellectual foundation of our thinking, methods, and goals; and tailor our messages for target audiences, stakeholders in particular.
Investopedia defines stakeholder as “a party that has an interest in a company and can either affect or be affected by its business.” Stakeholders typically include customers, investors, employees, suppliers, communities, governments, and trade associations.
The media (that’s plural, not singular) are not stakeholders. Yes, they have an interest in our company/organization as part of their editorial coverage, but they’re not tied to the bottom line as stakeholders are – nor should they be.
Government at all levels, the military, colleges and universities, and other tax-supported nonprofit institutions have some of the same stakeholders as companies do, as well as several that are different – e.g., taxpayers, voters, donors, recruits – but their connection and effect is similar.
Bottom line, we PR writers are writing for all of these interests although to different degrees. We have assumed the responsibility to write in a way that they all benefit from what we say. It’s not an easy responsibility but it’s one we can’t avoid if we want to contribute significantly to our company/organization’s existence, if we want to be truly professional at what we do.
Seven is a Lucky Number
In random order, here are seven reasons for why we PR writers write and should write for our employers. Please add your own in the comments section or expand on what’s listed.
- Help to create a “public voice” for our company/organization.
- Impart useful news, information, knowledge, ideas, insights, solutions related to our company/organization goals.
- Assist our company/organization top management to be more transparent and authentic in dealing with target audiences.
- Enable target audiences to act smarter about issues concerning their pocketbooks, politics, health, skills, employment, and other aspects of well-being related to our company/organization purposes.
- Serve as an early warning system regarding trends and issues that could affect our company/organization programs, products, services, and plans.
- Assist the company/organization marketing or sales team to generate new business and cultivate supportive relationships with customers.
- Improve our company/organization’s public reputation.
Professional public relations is a management function like finance, legal, and human resources. It helps employers manage more efficiently and effectively with the programs we design and deliver, and the messages we write and disseminate to influence or change people’s behavior.
Let’s all write more strategically for our companies/organizations, and in keeping with the reasons PR writers must write. Help them to achieve their goals and objectives ethically and lawfully with the power of well-thought, well-wrought words.
About the Author: Don Bates, APR, Fellow PRSA, recently retired as adjunct instructor in writing and PR management in New York University’s graduate program in public relations and corporate communication, is a PR consultant and a senior counselor for Gould Partners, M&A consultants to PR and marketing agencies. Don also conducts public and private PR and business writing workshops and seminars in the U.S. and in other countries. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Read him on Medium. Read his occasional blog, www.WritingRX.tumblr.com