Every now and again, a public relations meme appears on the Web — almost to the point where you could set your watch by it. This time around, Claire Cain Miller of The New York Times sparked the conversation with an in-depth article, “Spinning the Web: P.R. in Silicon Valley.”
I respect Claire, and I believe she wrote an extensive article that chronicles the launch of one particular startup and also featured supporting quotes from those public relations professionals who are helping to usher in a new breed of corporate communications.
While an exposé makes for an interesting read, public relations is undergoing a much more significant renaissance that receives almost zero attention in this article. P.R. in Silicon Valley is far more sophisticated and effective than what’s actually spotlighted in the story, and it’s much more potent than most entrepreneurs, investors and executives realize.
For those truly seeking answers and guidance in regard to the new landscape of public relations and influence, please consider my new book with Deirdre Breakenridge, “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations.” There’s a reason we spent an entire year writing it. Anyone practicing communications, marketing, public relations, advertising, branding, or making sales and marketing decisions on behalf of any company would be remiss not to have read and shared this book. It is the most comprehensive, accurate and practical resource on the subject of PR 2.0 and how the social Web has transformed the world of communications, word of mouth and authority. And it will be relevant and poignant for years to come.
I met with Claire a few weeks ago while she was working on this article, and to be honest, the elements that surfaced in our conversation offered far more value, insight and direction for both public relations practitioners as well as company executives seeking to rise above the noise in traditional and social media. Perhaps it’s merely shelved for a future article, but unfortunately, now’s the time to place the focus on what works, what’s changing and how to contribute to the (r)evolution instead of simply talking around it. As my quote in the New York Times alludes, public relations is much more than what most think it is. While it’s clever, even the headline of the Times article suggests “spin” in the era of the Web. But as my book highlights, and as discussed with Claire, what’s going on right now is so much more important than what public relations used to be — even though it’s still practiced today. This is about putting the public back in public relations, nothing less, nothing more.