Questions All PR People Must Be Asking

Oscar Wilde once said that the “question often arrives a terribly long time after the answer.”  For sure, asking the right questions early and often is the answer to a lot of problems we face as communicators.  Inundated with projects, challenges, crises, pitches and meetings, we are easily seduced by the sirens of Completion: get it done, no tough questions asked.  Throughout your week, you are inherently set up to ask tough questions. How often do you ask the right ones, however difficult the answers might be?

Below, I’ve started a list of key topics and questions to ask in your PR life. Please add to it – what do you have to lose?

* A PR Campaign: Can it be measured and what will the key performance indicators be?

* Interviewing your Next PR Star:  What’s your best mistake and why?

* Choosing a PR Firm: Whom will I be working with day to day and what’s his/her experience?

* Choosing a Client: Are their expectations realistic and will we click on a human level?

* Forging a Nonprofit/Charitable Partnership: Does this organization align with my company’s goals and do we have time for this?

* Your Team: Whom can I recognize today for a job a well done?

* Your Customers: How can I “wow” them this week?

* Pushing a Viewpoint: Is it really worth pursuing?

* Managing a Crisis: Who is affected by this crisis, and what’s the worst that could happen?

* Social Media: Do we really need to be on this platform? If yes, why? If not, let’s not waste precious time.

* The Media: What great story do I have to tell and why should they care?

I look forward to your contributions to this list!

– Diane Schwartz








  • Linda Locke

    Is there a gap between what your audience believes and what you are saying?

  • Forrest Anderson

    These are some of the basic questions anyone planning a communications campaign should be asking, but which we frequently ignore:

    o What is my client/management’s business objective?
    o What is a reasonable communications objective in support of that business objective?
    o Who, exactly, is my target audience?
    o What behavior would my client/management like to provoke in the target audience?
    o What message(s) are most likely to provoke that behavior?
    o What media are most likely to reach the target audience?
    o Are there trends or issues that matter to the target audience that we can use to help carry persuasive messages to the target audience?
    o Are there trends or issues that matter to the target audience and may have a negative effect on our ability to communicate with the target audience?
    o What key performance indicators can I use to demonstrate we have the right message, the right media and that we have reached the target audience.

  • Corporate Social Responsibility in India

    How about:
    What are my customer’s objective?
    Will the campaign be aimed for a long term or a short term goal?

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  • Suzanne Mannion

    Great questions. I think we are so inclined to appear as though we know everything that we neglect to ask questions when needed. The ability to do so is part of being effective at our jobs.

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