Top 10 reasons PR has to be thankful in 2011

What do you think PR should be thankful for in 2011? Besides a long weekend, of course. (Image credit:


Thankful, thankful, thankful. Everyone is talking this week — and this month, for that matter — about what they are thankful for. Yes, I know I ended that sentence before with a preposition. But that’s what people say — What they’re thankful for. I don’t think my journalism professor would mind.

Since everyone is on the thankful bandwagon, I figured I’d jump on as well. It is Thanksgiving week, after all. Plus, it gives us a chance to reflect on what PR should be thankful for. So without further adieu, here are 10 reasons for PR to be thankful in 2011.

1. Clients. Not trying to be a kiss up here. Ok, maybe a little. But without clients and the opportunity to work with amazing people and brands, we wouldn’t have jobs. So let’s not ignore the obvious No. 1 thing to thankful for.

2. Listening. Companies have always relied on research, but social media provides the always-on insights we can’t get from focus groups and primary research alone. More importantly, it keeps us from making decisions with blinders on and forces our clients to start breaking down the silos and working together to meet the customer’s needs. Listening shifts companies’ focus to the customer experience, which is where it always should have been in the first place.

3. Being taken more seriously. Sure, there are always going to be naysayers. But PR is using customer insights, often through listening, to show how we can deliver a more direct impact on the business. The data we get from these online conversations can change how our clients position product, show us what angles would make the best stories to pitch and more.

4. More tangible results. There are some similarities here to No. 2. But I wanted to give a shout out to The Barcelona Principles, which started us down this road toward measuring outcomes and not just outputs. Every day I hear fewer people talking about just tracking impressions or website visitors. And more are talking about tracking calls to action, clickthroughs, lead generation and sales. This is a good thing, people.

5. Bloggers. There are a variety of opinions out there about how PR should work with bloggers. But one thing is for sure, we couldn’t do our job as well without them. In fact, I actually work with bloggers more these days than reporters. They are an important group to build relationships with because of the communities they’ve worked to build on their own. And as you all know, blogging consistently and building community is no easy task.

6. Smart people. I am always amazed by how many smart people there are in our industry and how willing so many of them are to help with a question or issue, no matter how large or small. Not only do we count on each other for assistance from time to time, but I also have learned a ton from my industry peers just by connecting with them daily through their blogs, Facebook, Twitter and any other social network where we might meet.

7. Research. I mentioned listening earlier, but I want to throw a shout out to good ol’ traditional research as well. Surveys, studies and focus groups have not gone by the wayside at all. And we as PR should be thankful we have access to this data to frame the approaches we take with clients so we aren’t just shooting in the dark. Primary research is always the best, but sources like eMarketer and Forrester are great for secondary research.

8. Owned channels. Nothing is more frustrating than relying on a third party solely to tell your brand’s story. Yes, we need to work with bloggers and journalists. They are an integral piece of the earned media landscape. But having our own blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, YouTube channels and more makes it easier than ever before to share our clients’ stories and connect with their customers.

9. Ambassadors, not just influencers. Influencers are often broadcasters for our brand. We benefit from that broadcasting, but it’s also often a short-term benefit. Buzz today, gone tomorrow. Ambassadors are our biggest fans. They stand by their brand today, tomorrow and the next day. Let’s make sure we’re not ignoring them.

10. Barriers and strategy. This is what I am most thankful for, besides clients of course, because this is what shows the true value PR can add to the business. Every client has barriers and every client needs a strategic communications plan. It’s up to us to make that happen. Barriers make it easy because if you can figure out why customers might not be using a client’s products, then you can decide what strategy to embrace in order to eliminate those barriers.

So there’s my top 10. What else should we be thankful for? That we know not to end sentences with prepositions, maybe? :)



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ginidietrich 4120 pts

You should also be thankful for the awesome food you're going to eat in just two short days!

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JGoldsborough 227 pts moderator

ginidietrich True dat. And I am also thankful for football and college basketball. And lots of it :). Cheers!

ginidietrich 4120 pts

JGoldsborough And now that the NBA is back?

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JGoldsborough 227 pts moderator

ginidietrich Sorry, I despise the NBA. I would be happy if they eliminated the league entirely. How was your TGiving?

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ginidietrich 4120 pts

JGoldsborough It was good! I was ready to come back to work, though.

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  1. [...] Goldsborough, a digital strategist at Fleishman Hillard, offered his take on this question in apost on his blog. We thought we’d share them with [...]