Public relation is the practice of handling information flow between individuals or organizations and the public. It provides exposer for an individual or an organization to their audiences/stakeholders using matters of public attention and news items that do not entail direct payment. The main aim of a public relations department in an organization is to convince the public, investors and other stakeholders to uphold a confident point of view about the leadership and the products of the company. A person heading the public relations department in any institution should be a professional who comprehends all that is involved in the field. Experience is the best asset that any PR professional needs to have. We will take a look at some of the best practices of a PR/Communications professional and the challenges that such a professional has to deal with when discharging his/her duties.
Section I: Purpose of the Paper
The paper revolves around an interview with a PR/communications professional and unearths all the important factors that need to be considered by a PR professional to ensure the success of an organization. It also covers the qualifications and responsibilities of a successful communications expert. It gives an insight overview of what communications/PR professionals need to do, in order to promote their company brand name. While planning for the interview, we need to identify the person who organizes and coordinates a company’s PR or communications issues and how he/she manages to maintain a good relationship with the company’s stakeholders. The interview session will be conducted in a professional manner to ensure that all the necessary issues have been adequately tackled. Some of the things to be handled during the interview include; the executive’s experience and the qualifications that makes him/her suitable for the position, duties, responsibilities and functions of a communications executive. We will then wrap up the paper by getting an insight overview about the organization’s approach on matters related to communications and public relations.
Section II. Background information on the company or organization and the Communications professional interviewed
Amanda grew up in hermitage and is a graduate of MTSU majoring in journalism. She started working at a newspaper firm and later transferred into Public Relations. Her work in the communications office at MTSU gave her sufficient experience to kick start her career. Amanda started her career with Metro Nashville public schools in the communications division. She then moved to Nashville city paper where she worked as a reporter. She later moved to TN department of education and a freelancer for music festival. Finally her career landed her at St. Thomas Healthcare where she works to date as a communications coordinator. She is an organised person who keeps track of any issues and has a straight mind with a clear view of issues that could arrive. She has worked for 7 months at St. Thomas and Baptist. At St. Thomas she is in charge of media relations whereby she works with the local and national media outlets to ensure that healthcare is represented in the best light possible. She also works with the media to ensure different stakeholders are reached in a timely manner. She is charged with the responsibility of sending out press releases, maintaining media list, working with the internal communication department to ensure that it is in line with the information sent to the public. She also reports back to the leadership on all the steps taken and ensures that communications within the organization is well controlled and accurate.
Her schedule just like any other PR/communications professional is always tight. She has to attend a couple of meetings daily, send out a media press release and take a couple of calls from the media to discuss emerging issues. She has to meet with the members of the marketing department at least twice a week and check with the local organizations and the media to see if they need any story. In order to realize the success of her job, she has to employ different strategies in communication to simplify her job. Some of the strategies that she employs in her day to day operations include: using press releases and social media like facebook and twitter to connect to prospective clients and users.
Her best practice for the job is to remain goal oriented and organized and lay more focus in ensuring that healthcare is accurately represented. She uses press releases, advertisements and involving the entire marketing team to ensure that all these measures are properly handled. However, when asked about the advice she would give a person venturing into PR, she emphatically discouraged any person aspiring to be a PR professional to study journalism and get to acquire more information in communication.
Section III. Synopsis of the information learned in preparation for and during this assignment
Public Relations and Communications department is a very important department in any establishment/organization as it manages one of the most vital parts of an organization. This department needs to be given adequate resources to enable it perform its duties without the slightest hitch. During the interview schedule and all through the assignment we learnt on how to establish a robust and a more responsible Public relations and communications network. We have also been able to learn about the importance of a good image of a company and how the image of the company can be maintained. All these revolve around having a professional in the field who has a wealth of experience in handling affairs related to public relations and communications in a company.
Qualities of a good communications expert include ability to speak at conferences and offer captivating speeches aimed at attracting more stakeholders to the company. The duties of a PR and Communications executive goes beyond having an established network of promoting the company’s image. It also involves encouraging collaboration with communications teams so that there is effective communication both inside and outside the institution . Therefore the interview with Amanda helped us to understand more about what is involved when dealing with matters related to communications and Public Relations at a much broader perspective.
Section IV. Describe what you learned while completing this assignment
This assignment has been very instrumental towards establishing the factors required to become a good PR/communications expert. The assignment has also enabled us to understand more on the PR and communications profession and the best practices involved in the sector. Some communications and PR executives are not aware of the challenges that they may face while discharging their duties until when they are hit by reality. It is sometimes late for them to adjust their strategies and handle the challenges facing their organizations. Therefore it is necessary that each Communications executive prepare well in advance to the challenges that may face the organization as far as communications and public relation issues are concerned. According to Amanda, there are various challenges in the communications and Public relations field and therefore discourage aspiring personalities from taking over the field. However, she adds that if adequate experience is obtained, then a person can easily sail through in the profession. Some of the challenges may be direct while others indirect and their effects felt when at advanced stages. Therefore experience is one of the greatest assets that a public and communications professional needs to have.
According to Amanda, some of the best practices of the PR and communications profession include: Being organised when discharging her duties and having sufficient knowledge on innovative technology. This will play a very important role in ensuring that the company does not lag behind technologically. She also has to ensure that the media knows about the news of the organization in a timely manner so as to effectively disseminate the information to various sectors. She also ensures that a strong relationship is built with all stakeholders even if they disappoint. In order to ensure that the above practises are upheld, she has to make a plan to guide her throughout the entire program.
Various Public Relations and Communications professionals carry out roll-out campaigns to promote the images of their companies and formulate various guidelines that can help the organization become successful. The initiatives taken by the PR executives may vary depending on their specific industries. However one common denominator applicable to all in the PR/Communications field is good and smooth communications both horizontally and vertically in and outside the organization. To promote this, they have to ensure that there is understanding among various stakeholders. This can be achieved by organizing seminars with the stakeholders to tackle emerging issues in a timely manner. Once there is an internal consensus and everybody in the company is comfortable with each other and the stipulated guidelines, then initiatives can be carried out to promote the company externally. Different professionals give this issue a different approach. Some employ third party companies to promote their brand image while others do it on their own. Either way, adequate resources have to be put in the initiatives to ensure its success.
The story of Mr. Bieler
Beiler joined Case Western Reserve University in 2008 and was responsible for communications, advertising, media relations, market research and development of electronic media. He managed to steer forward a well-received University branding and worked hard to maintain a good relationship between the university and various stakeholders. Prior to joining Case Western he worked with Cleveland Clinic as the director of marketing and communications. Beiler is a graduate of New York law School and also has a bachelor’s degree in Arts from Albany University. He is a trained attorney and started his career at Jones Day law firm as an international business development manager. He later turned out as a fully-fledged communications and marketing professional after leaving the law firm. His success in the communications field is attributed to the fact that he has a humble personality and has the ability to learn from the prevailing conditions before making a final decision regarding a given issue.
Duties that Mr. Bieler will be responsible in his new role -according to the John Hopkins Gazette include: strengthening the relationships through communications with the university's alumni, prospective students, parents, the local community, and a broad array of external and internal audiences. He will also be in charge of improving the public image of the university hence attracting more stakeholders and encouraging collaboration with communication teams located throughout the university. All these are aimed at promoting the brand name of the University both locally and internationally.
A good PR/Communications professional need to be equipped with adequate information and experience in order to be able to discharge his/her duties effectively. Mr. Bieler has a wealth of experience in the Communications and Public relations field and his entry into Johns Hopkins will offer the University a big boost towards realizing their long term goal of having an internationally recognised brand name.