Aubia Communications

PR is all around: Applying lessons learned in outside interests to your business

PR is all around: Applying lessons learned in outside interests to your business    In May, I will be discussing how interests outside of business can strengthen your public relations skills. I start with this post about learning PR lessons from your hobbies, then I discuss how your PR skills can help your outside interests, followed by  how travel has made me a better PR professional, and I wrap it up with a post based on my latest master’s classes about the psychology behind PR.  

A recent blog post about applying your outside interests to create blog content got me thinking how public relations is in all areas of life. We can learn about PR not only from text books or blog posts, but you can see the practice all around you. When we stop and take notice of these lessons, we find remarkable tie-ins for our own businesses.

Where is PR?

You hear a lot about PR in the news; granted, many times it’s an incorrect use, such as “PR stunts” being pulled off by celebrities. However, with PR encompassing so many areas, there are many correct uses of it everywhere.

When a company promotes a product through a pop culture link, that’s PR. When a business partners with a charity in a sponsorship program, that’s PR. When an organization runs a fundraiser on social media platforms, that’s PR.

Learning to recognize PR tie-ins outside the normal business realm can help bring fresh ideas and strengthen practices you already have in place. How can you find these links?

1. Identify your own interests

First, look at what occupies your time outside of work. Your hobbies can provide inspiration for your next big idea. Maybe you’re a personal financial consultant who is also an avid fisher. A connection can be found in knowing the right time to strike. To catch the big one, you have to wait for the right time to drop your lure. Just like in personal finance, you have to know when is the best moment to buy or sell a stock. Offering clients (and potential future clients) a course using this link is a great way to promote your business.

2. Watch your favorite brands

Established brands are established for a reason. They’ve got their PR ducks in a row, and they know what their fans want. Being from Georgia, I’m a dedicated Coca-Cola fan. Though I don’t work in the food and beverage industry, I consistently watch for Coca-Cola’s latest campaigns because it’s known as a leader in applying PR principles in business. One of my favorite Coca-Cola campaigns has been the recent Happiness Table that aims to bring people together to eat a meal. And, you know Pepsi is taking a note or two from each of Coca-Cola’s PR programs.

3. Learn from mistakes

You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself. -Sam Levenson

As watching your favorite brands can help spark PR ideas, learning from the mistakes of others can also be of benefit. You’re outside interests can teach you lots about PR, but the link has to be realistic and transparent. As companies who are greenwashing can hurt their corporate social responsibility programs, you can hurt your reputation by making too much of a stretch to connect an outside interest to your business. If you’re a fitness trainer, you may not want to introduce your love of baking sugary sweets into your PR arsenal (unless you’re showing how to make more healthy versions of cakes and pies).

4. Partner with those who share your interests

You may be part of a group who meets regularly to discuss your particular interest. Maybe there’s an organization dedicated to your interest. When I lived in Virginia, I was part of a book club that met once a month in a historic district. I then worked for the public affairs office at the local Army installation. Part of my job was to understand how the community viewed the installation and educate the community on the happenings at the fort. Since the book club met on the opposite side of town from the post and many members didn’t have any interaction with the military, I was able to learn how a certain part of our surrounding community saw the fort and felt about its actions. In turn, I was able to correct some misunderstandings the members held about the installation. Partnering your business with groups or organizations that share your interests can bring valuable PR lessons.

PR is an omnipresent practice offering valuable business lessons. What PR lessons can you glean from your outside interests?

photo credit: cabbit via photopin cc

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One Comment to "PR is all around: Applying lessons learned in outside interests to your business"

  1. […] week, I discussed how you can glean public relations lessons from your hobbies. This can also work on the flip side. Applying your PR skills to your hobbies provides a great […]

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