Public relations (PR.) It’s a broad term and an industry that is frequently misunderstood.
Unfortunately many businesses ignore the importance of PR until they have a crisis and may even believe that is the only time a PR firm should be employed.
Critical Leadership Success
The truth is PR is critical to the success of a company and should not be relegated to a small PR team in a back room. It is something in which the highest executives of the company should be actively involved.
This is because, in a world where perception is often considered reality, one disastrous comment or one tragedy can define what your company is unless you have taken pains to build relationships and help the world see the good things your company does as well.
Good PR requires having a company culture that is favorable to PR.
And just like any cultural change, it can only be successful if it is actively supported by the C suite.
5 PR Habits Every CEO Should Develop
Here are five PR habits every CEO should strive to develop.
1. Engage with the Public
Whether you run a giant enterprise or a small company and whether your business is B2B or B2C, the CEO should be actively involved in the process of engaging the public.
This includes customers, stakeholders, industry experts and beat journalists and bloggers.
The exact method will depend on your specific business and industry, but start having a dialogue whether it’s through white papers, speaking at conferences, or blog posts. Even Bill Marriott sees the value in this and takes time to write his own blog “Marriott on the Move.”
2. Accept Media Training
Holding press conferences and being interviewed may not sound like that complex of skill, but one misstatement or one rude comment can isolate a journalist at best and create an entire crisis at worst. Actively develop your ability to talk to the press, and make yourself available for interviews.
Just think of how valuable a good relationship with a reporter will be when a crisis hits, and you want to tell your side of the story.
3. Look for PR Opportunities
Actively looking for PR opportunities isn’t about stunts or being insincere, it’s about letting others know about the good things you are already doing and developing positive relationships.
This means being the person the reporter turns to when they have hit deadline and still need a story.
This means being willing to talk about the incredible company culture you have built up, engaging in community service, and being actively involved in the industry.
4. Prepare for Crises
Be an active participant when the PR team comes up with their crisis plan, and go over your role in the plan frequently. Get trained specifically in how to handle a press conference or an interview during a crisis. Staying on message is much more difficult when you’re discussing bad news and not good news.
Most importantly, be willing to communicate and be honest about the situation.
For example, the CEO of Nu Skin actively responded to reporters when the news hit that China was investigating the company’s business practices.
5. Be Consistent
It’s easy to get discouraged and give up when PR efforts don’t start getting results immediately but remember PR is all about building relationships and guiding perception which means it’s work that never ends.
Consistency is key to seeing those results you are looking for, so skip the impulse to cut the PR budget next time you’re needing to boost ROI.
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