Four Lessons Military and Civilian PR Pros Can Teach Each Other

If you were going to stereotype military public affairs (PA) professionals, you would say that they lack creativity, obsess over planning and structure, and would jail their own mother if she proposed an outreach plan with any risk.

Civilian public relations (PR) professionals on the other hand obsess over the latest social media trends, fly by the seat of their pants, and tout experience over education. Over and over again.

Like all stereotypes, they are unfair to many. But there is often truth behind the broad brushstrokes. Both communities, to break free of their stereotypes, would do well to study and learn from each other. The field of public relations, despite lacking commonly accepted rules and best practices, does not lack for common sense behaviors or best practices. Recognizing these commonalities will ultimately lead to improved campaigns for all PA and PR professionals.

Today’s post will cover four lessons military PA pros can take away from the civilian world, and in a follow-up post, I’ll cover lessons civilian PR professionals can learn from observing the military. [Read more…]

When Communicating, Start With ‘Why’

A while ago, my brother gave me the book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek. While not a public relations book, I began thinking about its concepts from a public relations perspective. All clients have information and stories they want to share. “Let’s distribute a press release,” they say. Too often though, those press releases begin with the wrong message and clients miss out on opportunities for their audiences to buy-in and support their message. Instead of starting with what is important to their audiences, clients oftentimes want to start with what is important to them. [Read more…]

Storytelling is Changing

The technology of storytelling is changing. Why? History shows us shifts in communication technology from hieroglyphs to the oral tradition, from print to digital. At first glance, the shift seems mere happenstance, a matter of scientific discovery coupled with the chicken or the egg quandary. My linguistics professor used to say it isn’t our job to figure out why language and the technology that delivers it changes, we just need to understand that it does and not get upset about it. [Read more…]

Are You Communicating in Real-Time?

Are you communicating in real-time? This question has been on my mind a lot since I heard David Meerman Scott present at the 2010 Vocus User’s Conference. David presented different scenarios where individuals had a choice to make – do something now, do something later, or do nothing. He encouraged us to ask ourselves the question, “what would you do?” Most communicators opt to do something later (or do nothing).

This isn’t exactly how David presented things – it’s my interpretation. So much of our work (and personal) time is filled with talk of things we’re going to do or plan to do, but little talk revolves around what to do right now.There’s a lot of us that would like to operate with more of a real-time mindset. If only we could get away from the endless stream of interruptions that masquerade as work and limit our productivity (i.e. emails, meetings, instant messaging, surfing the Web, and reading rants on blogs like this one). [Read more…]