Public Relationships

PR, Not Propaganda – Web 2.0 Expo from Valeria Maltoni

I used to write much more about communication challenges and public relations in the early days of this blog.

When the number of inbound inquiries to do PR (the write the press release and spam the hell out of everyone kind of requests) reached critical level, I hit the "escape" button.

I'm not a PR person, even though I can play one in a pinch. You won't like the way I play it. My first question in business dealings is usually: "is this true"?

And we'll leave it there, because there are plenty of solid and experienced professionals who practice and advance the public relations profession the way it should be — and not just in the myopic, media-centered, order-taking, propaganda-driven press release churn. Would you like fries with that?

It is undeniable that digital media and social technologies have brought about a sea of change for us all.

Media companies have seen competition and disruption from new entrants they were not even considering a short few years ago. They were by and large dragged online kicking and screaming — and often crying, too due to the loss of ad dollars from their old model.

The press tribe didn't see content itself as a product until the model was applied successfully by digital native publications. They did not catch on until recently (and some will say not even now) that it is a completely different way to understand what people think and worry about, what they want to say and do.

They migrated without moving in.


Corporations found themselves in a similar situation with regard to message control. They now need more hands-on support due to the potential (and very real) upside of direct relationships with a greater number of publishers among their stakeholders.

Public_relationsWhat happens to public relations in an everyone is media world? Who counsels you on matters of public communication?

Why wait to have an issue to anticipate, analyze and interpret public opinion, for example?

Many are still getting caught unprepared.

On the bright side, think of the potential to conduct and evaluate programs of action and communication to achieve the informed public understanding necessary to the success of your organization’s purpose.

Today you can do that on an ongoing basis.


Business relationships are increasingly public, whether you make them so or not. There is probably more content about your products and services online than there ever was.

The digital footprint of your organizations and a permanent record of public relationships with your business become the information people find and use.

Understanding why people are saying what they are saying and figuring out how to help them be better informed about your business should be part of PR practitioners' role.

How do you move PR to public relationships?

Great communicators are able to handle complexity through a combination of learning agility — you do need to learn the business you're in to be most effective — and ability to help the business scope and accept new challenges, so they can trade better.

By delivering on its promises, a business gains the ability to make better ones and in the process develop relationships, gain loyalty, build trust, and get more flow dollars for their brand.


Every now and then someone asks me about communicating more effectively in digital media. So I wanted to bring up some of the older posts I wrote about it.

We're just scratching the surface on connecting the stream with action. We haven't done many of the things we talk about just yet, even as the market is fairly mature in terms of tools available for the choosing.

It was John Naisbitt (ref: Megatrends) who said that each innovation in technology, to be successful, must be coupled with a compensatory human response.

Relationships still take time to set.

It's time to upload humanism.

I propose uploading humanism through commerce. This is the title of a dual session I submitted for consideration at SxSWi 2013 (voting starts tomorrow).



Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.

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