Top Pick: Politics in PR

From Google Analytics to the Chipotle Crisis – we’ve seen Public Relations tackle it all. To narrow down the job description of a Public Relations Professional would be to count the grains of sand in Lake Michigan. This job requires not only great people skills, but a vast variety of competence in basically any communication qualifications you could think of.

The most interesting part of PR that I have observed thus far is its role in politics. How political candidates would survive a campaign cycle without their PR person is beyond my capacity of understanding. From political rallies to presidential announcements, PR professionals are behind it all.

My interest in politics has stemmed from growing up with an EXTREMELY involved father who never ceases to amaze me in his knowledge of random people and random political inquiries. Seriously, my dad’s pretty cool (check out his restaurant if you love food like a normal person).

Anyway, I never realized how Politics could relate to my degree in Advertisement and Public Relations until I explored what PR officials really do. Not only do PR personnel get to deal with super cool issues like press conferences, but they handle much of the social media output, rallying, promotions, and networking of a political campaign.

Kevin Moloney puts it this way in his article from the Corporate Communications Journal, “PR/corporate communicators show great professional skills in building up their ‘media capital’ knowing how to supply stories at the right time to copy-needy, harassed journalists who seek expert and authoritative sources” (Moloney para 2). This exhibits a perfect example of a few ways PR is involved with politics. Public Relations professionals use their skills to supply stories to the targeted audience at an optimal time. Without the research done by the PR professional, campaigns could easily miss their target audience and other important information such as what time is best to reach them. Not only that, but PR departments are also majorly in charge of what actually gets released. They control the timing of the releases as much as they control the amount of information to disclose -sounds like a lot of work if you ask me.

Another super important job of a PR person in politics would be their link to the president or presidential candidates. Often we see not only the PR department conducting the events during the campaign process, but also following through with major announcements and releases during a presidency. For example, the American Nurses Association just caught wind that President Trump’s new budget proposal for 2018 could not only be cutting their funding for research, but their wages in general as well (Associate para 1). This is a huge issue that not only needs much explanation, it will require much diplomacy and delicacy in the way of communication.

The way in which information is given to the public and content is worded is one major role in Public Relations. If one minor detail is worded incorrectly or comes off in an offensive way, a politician could lose not only their respect but potentially monetary funding as well. We see the careful wording and expression of PR professionals in so many releases today, including the one that explained the American Nurses Association’s frustration over the new budget plan.

Speaking of Trump’s new budget proposal, the president of the National League of Cities, Matt Zone recently stated, ”

‘America’s cities call on Congress to throw out this budget proposal and develop a new plan focused on building prosperity, expanding opportunity and investing in our future. We call on Congress to stand with cities and their communities. We look forward to working with champions of cities in Congress to ensure that a final budget is passed that puts cities first.

Congress must reject this budget proposal or risk derailing local economies nationwide’ (Cities para 3).

It is obvious that this message was quite carefully and intentionally worded. I would assume that it was written by someone other than Matt Zone such as a PR professional on his team, or otherwise approved by one. The wording in this quote is attempting to portray a particular image of the National League of Cities, as Matt Zone is representing the entire league and whatever he may say would reflect back on the entirety of the group.This is a huge role in Public Relations. It’s not just about having friendly relations with the public, it’s about brand image and how to effectively reach the targeted audience.

Although many of these skills seem like simple PR necessities, politics could not thrive in society today without them. Without the understanding of the public, carefully worded messaging, and intrinsically perfected image portrayal that PR brings to the table, it is almost absolute that our entire political system would be drastically different, if not fall apart.

Lets face it, PR makes the world go round. Stay enlightened 🙂

 

References:

Association, A. N. (2017, March 16). ANA Opposes President Trump’s 2018 Budget Proposal. Retrieved March 16, 2017, from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ana-opposes-president-trumps-2018-budget-proposal-300425228.html

Cities, N. L. (2017, March 16). Trump Budget Proposal an Attack on Vital City Programs. Retrieved March 16, 2017, from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/trump-budget-proposal-an-attack-on-vital-city-programs-300425164.html

Moloney, K. (2003). Public relations democracy: Public relations, politics and the mass media in britain. Corporate Communications, 8(4), 278. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.gvsu.edu/docview/214190452?accountid=39473

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