The importance of honesty in PR


As children we were all taught that honesty was the best policy. But as we got older some doubt crept in.

A little white lie here or there never hurt anyone, is what we tell ourselves. Maybe your friend isn’t a good a singer as she thinks she is, but do we say anything? Probably not.
It’s completely different when it comes to PR. As ‘masters of spin’ we can be considered dishonest but in this work honesty must always come first and we’re discussing why.

Building strong client relationships

As a PR pro your relationship with your client is one of the most important in your work. Having a strong relationship with your clients can make your work easier and can mean better results.
One way of ensuring a great relationship is honesty.
When you receive a client brief, if you don’t believe it’ll get the desired results then don’t be afraid to speak up and challenge it. PR pros should be open and honest with their clients, speaking up against an idea that you don’t fully believe in will stop the client from wasting their time and effort.
Suggest an alternative that you think has some legs, or suggest a brainstorming session to get the creative juices going.
It will also mean you will build a stronger relationship as the client will value your judgement and honesty.

 Keeping journalists onside

As the middleman PR pros are in the difficult position of keeping both clients and journalists happy. This can often be a tricky balancing act.
Being honest with journalists is simple. If you are pitching a story to more than one publication let them know, a simple email “X publication is also interested in the story” will mean you’re keeping lines of communication as open and honest as possible.
If you have organised an interview between your client spokesperson and a journalist let the journalist know what the client will, won’t and shouldn’t talk about.
The journalist will appreciate the heads up as it allows them to tailor their questions accordingly.
Journalists appreciate honesty and being open with them can ultimately help you with your story.

Maintaining an audience

We’ve all seen what can happen when a company lies to its audience. Customer loyalty rapidly decreases and an audience begins to turn against the brand.
As a PR pro you are often the middleman between an audience and the brand. It’s your job to make sure the message your brand is sending is entirely truthful and doesn’t contain any misleading information.
Honesty is also incredibly important at times of PR crisis. This could be a time when it can be easy to tell a white lie if it means the reputation of your company remains intact. Don’t do this. Lies from brands nearly always get found out and a lie being discovered down the line will do more damage than being open and honest and dealing with the crisis head on.
Here at MediaHQ we take pride in being open and honest with our clients. We help PR professionals connect with the media and get their story out there. If you’d like to learn more about what we do, click here to sign up for a demo.