When I finish this program (which is in less than one week, but who’s counting?), where do I see myself practicing my new-found knowledge? The goal is to work in government, on the more partisan side. This means I would help craft the image and messages of the government of the day. This particular field is not without challenges.
Doing public relations for any sort of government or government agency is tricky, because there are many rules in place. Aside from the various regulations, there are general challenges facing public relations these days:
- Real time – people are much more in tune with what is going on in the world, in large part due to social media and instant reporting, and the 24-hour news cycle is pervasive;
- Personalized content – there is a desire for personalize information, sent through the right channel at the right time; and
- Transparency – people want trust and honesty, and organizations can only address crisis situations by being transparent and open.
When you look at those three challenges, you can begin to see why these are especially problematic for practitioners of government public relations.
- Real time – government can’t always act in real-time, as the bureaucracy and processes that are in place need to be worked through;
- Personalized content – any government is representative of the people it serves, which is a large population. It is difficult to personalize to one segment or group without alienating others; and
- Transparency – perhaps the biggest struggle PR practitioners face is the issue of transparency, or at least the perception of transparency.
The other struggle is that working in government communications is that there is a high stress rate and burn-out factor. PR professionals working in government relations, especially partisan positions, are constantly on call and have to be ready to deal with any crisis or situation that occurs.
Ultimately, success in the field of public relations requires a deep understanding of the interests and concerns of many different audiences. This is true whether you work in government, for a private organization, or in the corporate sphere. The sheer number and variety of audiences that a government relates to means that working in this field will always be new and interesting.
If you want a different angle on doing public relations in government, check out my friend Rod’s blog post here.