3 Traps Public Relations Folks Fall Into

spider-web-1031615_19201) Too many people in public relations fail to ask for help when they need it.

There are many sources for expert help and advice. There are great professional organizations like the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRA), and the Southern Public Relations Association (SPRF).

Many members of these associations are willing to pick up the phone for free to answer a simple question. If most don’t know the answer to your question, they’ll gladly refer you to a colleague who is an expert. You could even give them a shout on social media.

2) Public relations folks cause greater problems for themselves by trying to tackle tasks that they are not good at or for which they have no professional passion.

In my own career, my passion for dealing with the media and crisis communications lead me to develop a niche’, rather than opening a full-service PR agency. If I need other aspects of PR, I call other experts who have PR agencies in New Orleans, New York, Toronto or other cities around the world.

Trying to do what you don’t know how to do is noble. Trying, learning, and achieving great things are commendable. But reaching beyond your capabilities often leads to failure, which then leads to you being further undervalued by your employer. Sometimes you get fired when the failure is too big. Often the difference between success and failure is simply asking for professional help.

And based on the personality type, you need to realize that most of your employers do not understand your craft or your profession. They think it is easy. Business leaders think you can work miracles. CEOs expect you to create magic on a shoestring budget. And often you do create magic with no budget and it feels great when you do. But when you do, you reinforce the notion of every CFO that you don’t need a bigger budget to do what you do. In reality, often you need to push back and say, “No, we need an outside expert to help us with that because the value of success is important and a potential failure would be more costly.”

Some of you are blessed to be in organizations with a huge PR team with experts in many areas of social media, internal communications, employee engagement, corporate social responsibility, and media relations. Many of you wear too many hats and do it all by yourself, including marketing, branding, advertising, and customer service.

3) Public relations folks often wear too many hats and do it all by themselves, including marketing, branding, advertising, and customer service.

Before you reach too far and fail, consider picking up the phone and reaching out to a professional colleague to ask for advice, help, and mentorship.


Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

3 Lessons the Melania Trump Coat Can Teach All Public Relations People

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson


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