PR for Dummies, via Trump and the Mooch

The Trump presidency is the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to educating the masses about PR (I know this might seem myopic but hey, I’m trying to look on the bright side),

Those in the field can appreciate that most people don’t understand what we actually do. But since Trump’s unconventional campaign took off, and through the first six months on the job, it’s been hard to deny this man’s knack for getting press attention. He has invaded many of my conversations with friends and family.  At some point eyes turn to me, seeming to accuse or inquire: “Hmmm.  This seems like something you should know something about.  What is it you do again?”

Each news cycle brings a teachable moment for the newswriters and cable talking heads to explain the meaning of things like optics, press briefings, messaging, earned media, etc.  The past couple of weeks – in the wake of the shuffling of Trump’s comms team – have taught the masses about the various roles, e.g. what a communications director vs. a press secretary’s job entails.

We’ve also learned about the enduring importance of the media. Clearly, Trump and his advisors would rather get glowing coverage about accomplishments, despite his attacks on the press and supposed ability to end run them via Twitter.

Yes there’s such a thing as bad PR and it hurts. For all the abilitÿ to seize the news cycle, Trump and team can’t control the headlines. Their attempts to do so resemble the clumsy fumbling of an overheated adolescent male in the back seat of the car.

Finally, the hot mess roller coaster called Scaramucci teaches one thing that us PR pros knew all along.  Kids, don’t try this at home. This media relations thing ain’t so easy, experience counts (he was brought on as comms director with no actual training in the field).

Even a junior PR account executive knows that you don’t call a reporter and vent on the record, handing a nice scoop over and getting walking papers in return (and his chagrined tweet to the effect that now he’s learned to never trust a reporter. That is rich).

What do you think?  If you’re interested in the topic, please see my other posts on Trump and PR.

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