UnknownI keep reading all these supposed experts writing about how they explain PR to their friends or how they want to define PR. In nearly every case, the explanation is all about publicity…or social media…or content creation…or story telling…or event planning. While PR can be about all of those tactics, if your explanation about what you do every day doesn’t start with strategy, then you’re really not doing your clients any favors.

Any PR professional can pitch media or create an event or write a blog – well they should be able to do the writing but that’s another subject for another day. If your first planning session with a client isn’t centered around strategies to achieve real world goals – like increased sales – then you are just servicing your client “half-fast” as the recent ad campaign says.

Strategy isn’t just words on a piece of paper, but a real world approach to a challenge or solution to a problem that involves communications. Too many PR people today are ready to pat themselves on the back after pulling off a great event or a high profile media placement when all too often those results live in a vacuum of self-congratulation.

My clients will always get strategy first, tactics second and then a secondary strategy to leverage results for further marketing good. Embracing an approach like this only makes PR professionals more valuable to the clients they serve. I’d like to see the industry take a step back from the sexy (content creation), jargony (story telling) and marginalized (event planning) tactics and be taken seriously because of their deep knowledge of communications and its implications inside and outside of every organization.