3 Bad Habits PR Pros Should Break to Be Taken Seriously as Business Leaders

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Whether it’s biting your fingernails, talking with your mouth full, procrastinating, slouching, gossiping or smoking cigarettes, let's face it: We all have a nasty habit or two we could stand to break in our everyday lives.

The world of public relations is no different—there are nasty habits lurking around the proverbial corner that could trip up and derail even the most meticulous, seasoned and goal-oriented professionals.

Sharon Reis, partner at GYMR Public Relations and a speaker at PR News' upcoming Business Leadership Boot Camp for Communicators on March 14 in Washington, D.C., lists some habits PR pros need to break to take a more business-focused, bottom-line approach to all their efforts.

1. Prioritizing your own creativity over business results. “Sometimes PR professionals get stuck on all the creative activities and amazing results,” says Reis. “They don't present [results] in a way that resonates with leaders outside of communications, leaving them wondering how to interpret the impact on the bottom line.”

2. Emphasizing impressions as a valid PR metric. PR pros need to spend more time explaining what impressions really mean for business goals. “We need to stop trying to value PR with advertising metrics," Reis says. "We need to focus more on ROI and impact. What does it mean to get a great story in a national media outlet or 20,000 engagements? More and more [of] our clients are asking us to show the value of successful PR efforts that can justify budget allocations at the C-suite level.”

3. Sharing the details of PR execution with senior leadership. When having conversations with leadership, start by answering “why and what.” “More often, they don't want to know the details of execution,” Reis says. “They need the key facts that will help them make a wise decision. Then, our clients typically trust the agency can execute successfully.” PR strategy and activities need to also align with the business objectives. Always ask this question: “How is PR achieving the mission, reaching targeted audiences?”

Follow Sharon Reis: @GYMRPR

Check out the speaker roster for PR News’ Business Leadership Boot Camp for Communicators, which will be held on March 14 in Washington, D.C.