“What is…” Wednesday – What is Public Relations? Pete Codella’s Take

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This week, HMA Time is pleased to have Pete Codella, APR, as a guest blogger, giving his take on one simple question: What is public relations?

Name sound familiar?

It should – Pete Codella, APR is CEO of Codella Marketing and NewsCactus, online newsroom software, and co-hosts the Online PR Podcast. A former singing gondolier at The Venetian in Las Vegas, Pete’s song, Crazy Little Thing The Web, is the top “social media song” search result on YouTube. Pete holds a B.A. from Brigham Young University, blogs at PeteCodella.com and can be found on Twitter here.

AND…he will be a presenter at the upcoming PRSA Western District Conference in April in Las Vegas on “"Creating a Successful Online Newsroom: Why and how to make a newsroom that stands out."

So, Pete, what is public relations?

People never really understand what I do for a living when I say, “I’m in public relations.” I don’t even start there anymore. I typically tell people the results of my work—I help companies sell products and services, I help expand a company’s digital footprint, or I help foster communication between organizations and stakeholders.

Sometimes I say, “I do a little marketing, advertising and public relations, mostly on the Internet” figuring those accessible terms represent some of what I do.

I have taught public relations and social media courses for UNLV, UCI Extension and the University of Utah. I’ve been involved in the public relations industry since the early 90s, a member of the Public Relations Society of America for more than a decade and an Accredited Public Relations counselor since 2005.

I do a lot of speaking and presenting, coaching and teaching, and represent a handful of clients at a time through Codella Marketing as an independent public relations counselor.

I’ve seen a lot of change in our industry over time.

My current focus is exclusively on digital public relations—using social media and other technology driven tools to establish and strengthen relationships.

For me, relationships are the heart of public relations.

As a counselor and professional business communicator, I work with clients to listen to constituent conversations and develop appropriate messages to be delivered by the right tools and at the right time.

Yes public relations can support sales. Yes it can secure votes and donations. Yes it can persuade. And yes it can exercise influence.

There are so many implications to the practice of public relations for an organization’s internal and external audiences.

The important consideration is a strategic awareness of how corporate decisions and actions will affect key constituents. This goes for organizations and groups of all kinds as well as companies.

A public relations counselor is part of the decision-making process to help produce desired outcomes, respond to criticism and praise, and organize efforts in times of crisis.

All of these efforts must be done in a spirit of openness and integrity to best serve the interests of your company or employer as well as society.

Just like any relationship, being good at public relations takes a lot of work and understanding. It requires not only an awareness of communication tools and how to best use them, but a willingness to listen first and speak second.

Alison Bailin
Alison Bailin
Senior Account Executive Alison has a lot to say…about pretty much everything...all the time. From the current state of public relations to the social media impact on Shark Week to crisis communications in the sports world, Alison’s blogs are focused on “amusing through her PR musings,” and then some. Check out Alison's full bio

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