At a glance, the realm of public relations might seem straightforward – managing how, when, and what kind of information is shared and spread between an organization or individual and the public. However, it’s a lot more than that. In reality, it’s much deeper that requires constant nurturing, trust-building, and continuous efforts. I am far from the first person to say this, but public relations isn’t something you can simply turn on or off, especially if you hope to maintain a positive image in the long run.
Think of public relations as a glowing ember. When it’s attended and fanned on a regular, appropriate basis, it grows into a warming, comforting fire. Yet, if left unattended or abruptly quenched, getting that fire going can be quite challenging. In the same way, public relations efforts cannot be stopped and resumed without long-term consequence.
When a business or individual decides to “turn off” their PR efforts – whether due to complacency, financial constraints, or other reasons – they risk the momentum already built both with the media and their audiences. The trust and rapport that may have been built over years can quickly erode, leaving a gap that often needs to be built again.
In the fast-paced world we live in, particularly with the speed of the news cycle and reliance on social media, means that the narrative can change in the blink of an eye; if you’re not actively engaged in shaping your story, or stories you want to be a part of, you leave room for others to shape it for you.
Turning public relations back “on” after a hiatus also involves more than just picking up where you left off. It requires a reevaluation of the current landscape, understanding new audience sentiments, and crafting tailored strategies that address any gaps or changes that have occurred in your absence.
We know that there can be budget restrictions, changes in priorities, and many other business conditions that may cause companies to scale back or halt their public relations efforts. But, it is important to remember that public relations isn’t a tool that can be used sporadically, only when convenient; it demands consistent attention, dedication, and nurturing.