Agile PR

Expert Messaging in a Hyper-Connected, Always-On World

 Agile PR

Author: Marian Salzman
Pub Date: January 2017
Print Edition: $29.95
Print ISBN: 9780814437872
Page Count: 272
Format: Hardback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814437889

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Chapter 1


You’ve probably already come to realize that the business of public relations isn’t exactly as it’s portrayed in the movies. Hollywood has occasionally given our industry its moment in the spotlight—think Conrad in Wag the Dog, Edina in Absolutely Fabulous, Samantha in Sex and the City, Shauna in Entourage. But those portrayals mostly represent the surface of the actual job. Believe everything on the screen and we’d all be smart yet calculating, morally compromised, manipulative, frivolous, and/or pushy. It just isn’t true. The job itself involves orchestration, big ideas, communication skills, and, as you get deeper into it, true strategic thinking.

Better to look at European TV’s idea of what we do—characters such as Simon in Spin and Kasper in Borgen. The drama about this job is amped up, for sure (and why not?), but the essentials of our work are represented in ways that are recognizable and show some resemblance to real life. In those worlds, as in ours, the ground is shifting. The business requires higher-level thinking. Communication strategy is essential, and the PR professionals are depicted as skilled not only in relaying strategic narratives in press briefings but also in stewarding and shaping the narratives. And most realistically, events unfold at digital speed, driven by text messages, tweets, leaks, video uploads, and the 24/7 news cycle. Just as in real 21st-century life.

This book will provide you with the means for succeeding in the actual PR world. It’s a real-life how-to about next-generation public relations—the tools, tactics, and techniques of communications professionals thriving in the always-on, hyperconnected, borderless world in which we now work and live—with insider information and stories to show you how this plays out in real business situations.

In our 24/7/365 climate, a constant trialogue among journalists, commentators, and Jane and John Public writes the stories and makes and breaks the news. When you finish this book, I hope you’ll feel better able to create or manage public relations strategy and communicate effectively in a world where everyone has a voice and we can all broadcast our views.

I have worked in and around brand communications since 1986. In that time, I hope I have grown wiser, as I have had a decent seat for the commercial launches of America Online, AOL Europe, and China Online, plus the return of Steve Jobs to Apple, and more. Later in this book you’ll hear more about my recent experiences, such as my weeks in the trenches as press lead for rapper/musician/actor Wyclef Jean’s run at the presidency of Haiti (think crisis management).

Back before everywhere-all-the-time technology was the norm (1996, for instance, when I couldn’t get call waiting in The Netherlands, where I lived at the time), communication strategy could be planned in advance. The campaign blueprint plotted out a timeline with a series of milestones to be activated and checked off. It was all pretty linear. The whole thing could be set up and executed more or less as planned, give or take a few adjustments to accommodate occasional unexpected events.

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