The Power Of Public Relations

by Susan Croft

The Power Of Public Relations

In this, my third column for Education Monitor, I am pleased to address another subject close to my heart: Public Relations.  I hope you enjoy reading it.

I am very pleased to let you know that Nigeria now has its own public relations training college – the London School of PR/Nigeria.  I am delighted to have been appointed Head of Institute by the founder Charles Edosomwan with whom I have worked on many projects over the past 5 years.

It is interesting to note the exponential growth of PR in Nigeria and other African countries over the past decade.  When I first started in the profession PR was considered a nice-to-have but not strategically associated with the business.  I spent most of my early years writing press releases, organising media events and hosting journalists at expensive luncheons.  How those days have gone!  Now PR is front and foremost in the organisation with many PR executives sitting on the board of directors.  PR which is essentially reputation management is considered at the vanguard of strategy and business development.  Whereas the skills you used to need some 30-40 years ago were good writing, communications, event management and a sunny personality, now it encompasses so much more (although the sunny personality is still a plus).

Public relations professionals today now need an understanding of finance, management, public affairs, social media, risk management, technology and they need to keep their pulse on international affairs as well.  PR requires an excellent understanding of the organisation or client organisation – be it a university, college, global company, government agency, NGO or charity.  PRs need to sit alongside the decision makers and be the first to know when developments happen.

Having worked in academia for many years I know how important reputation management is to education. A good, solid reputation will help you recruit and retain the best talent, engage students, attract government and other funding and may put you in the global limelight. A poor reputation or the poor handling of risks and crises will do the opposite.  It is therefore critical to engage key stakeholders, to communicate effectively with the media and to plan, plan, plan!

For those readers who feel their PR needs improving or developing I can highly recommend taking a course at LSPR – virtually delivered for the time being. Subjects in the diploma programmes range from branding and reputation management to building PR strategies.  Take a look:  info@teksightedge.com

Good luck building your reputation!

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