A PR Quiz: Who Said It?

How well do you think you know the field of public relations? Or at least, PR’s reputation? The savviest PR professionals are keenly aware of public perception, whether the focus is B2B tech, packaged consumer goods, or crisis communications.

Since public perception is often shaped by what’s said by famous leaders in business, politics, and sports, here’s a quiz to test your PR acumen.

Guess the correct public figure for each quote (answers at the end of this post) and see where you rank.

1. “Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.”
a) Warren Buffet
b) Richard Branson
c) George Soros
d) Ron Perelman

2. “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.”
a) Walter Cronkite
b) Cokie Roberts
c) Arthur M. Schelisinger, Jr.
d) Daniel J. Boorstin

3. “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
a) Warren Buffet
b) Richard Branson
c) George Soros
d) Ron Perelman

4. “Regardless of how you feel inside, always try to look like a winner. Even if you are behind, a sustained look of control and confidence can give you a mental edge that results in victory.”
a) Michael Jordon
b) Joe Montana
c) Tiger Woods
d) Arthur Ashe

5. “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
a) Margaret Thatcher
b) Bill Clinton
c) Winston Churchill
d) Franklin D. Roosevelt

6. “The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity.”
a) George Carlin
b) Tina Fey
c) Eddie Murphy
d) Ellen DeGeneres

7. “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”
a) Mark Twain
b) Harper Lee
c) Virginia Woolf
d) Oscar Wilde

8. “The public is the only critic whose opinion is worth anything at all.”
a) Mark Twain
b) Harper Lee
c) Virginia Woolf
d) Oscar Wilde

9. “The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power.”
a) Nelson Mandela
b) Malcolm X
c) Martin Luther King, Jr.
d) Mahatma Gandhi

10. “Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing.”
a) Andrew Carnegie
b) Bill Gates
c) John D. Rockefeller
d) Mark Cuban

7-10 correct: Master of PR. You know PR like the master of a finely tuned instrument — you know what PR is, how it works, and exactly how PR itself is perceived.
4-6 correct: PR Pro. There’s a lot to know about PR’s reputation, and you’ve got a good handle on PR’s place in the world.
1-3 correct: What’s PR again? You thought PR stood for “personal record,” and that public relations was what advertising agencies do.

Correct answers: 1-b, 2-d, 3-a, 4-d, 5-c, 6-a, 7-d, 8-a, 9-b, 10-c.

Donald Trump’s Not-So-Secret PR Weapon: Earned Media

Like most primary-watchers, I’m tired of reading –  even tired of blogging  – about Donald Trump. Yet you can’t deny that the candidate has a talent for public relations. There’s one thing that separates Trump from others in the dwindling Republican field – and I don’t mean his billions, his business background, or even his hair. The real secret of Trump’s rise is the earned media coverage he’s able to generate.

It’s absolutely staggering how little his campaign has had to spend in paid advertising, because he generates so much coverage in earned media through interviews and resulting social chatter.

The media, of course, have enabled him; they know that Trump is likely to say something entertaining or outrageous, and that he’s good for ratings. But even as other candidates have finally turned on Trump to try to cast him in a negative light, he keeps on owning the media. And his timing is pretty impeccable.


Consider the chart above, and bear in mind that this was back in August, long before the primary season, when most people are relatively tuned out of election politics coverage and media had many more candidates to cover.

Now fast-forward to 2016. During the last Republican debate, Marco Rubio dumped a binder’s worth of oppo research on Trump – from a lawsuit over illegal Polish workers on one of his projects, to the now-defunct Trump University. Showing some pretty sharp PR skills himself, Rubio kept the barbs coming, relentlessly urging viewers to “google it.” And one charge seemed to stick; searches for “Trump University” soared in the hours after the debate. But within 24 hours, Trump managed to grab control of the conversation by calling a press briefing in which he was endorsed by none other than New Jersey governor Chris Christie – a shocking turnabout that was good for at least three news cycles.

After Super Tuesday, Trump declined to give an official victory speech, opting instead for an oddly staged press conference at his Mar-A-Lago club in Palm Beach. The objective? Ostensibly it was to debut a slightly more gracious tone and move to the center in preparation for a general election. But I’ll bet a Trump t-shirt that the real reason was to keep Ted Cruz out of primetime.

Yes, it’s all about the media. Even after his failure to disavow white supremacist David Duke’s endorsement sparked outrage, Trump continued to dominate the news with his backpedaling on the issue. It’s enough to make you wonder if Trump is truly the person for whom any PR is good PR – no matter how bad.

5 PR Benefits Of Working With Bloggers

Often successful PR begins with the perfect pitch idea. It starts by considering all possible channels and the best ways to reach key audiences with your story. Chances are, blogs are high on the list of media targets.

Despite predictions that social networks have surpassed blogs in popularity, blogging isn’t dead. More than 42% of Americans regularly follow at least one blog.  The best bloggers have become more sophisticated, and most public relations people spend time nurturing blogger relationships. Here’s why.

Bloggers can offer “tipping point” brand visibility. A good PR campaign seeks to to tell a story to a specific audience or segment, and zeroing in on blogs that do that is job #1. For example, for our client Small Town Brewery and its products, penetrating the beer blogosphere was the best way to reach influencers in the category. There are hundreds of beer bloggers and by reaching out to those with high Alexa ratings, a healthy number of incoming links, Facebook likes and Twitter follows with samples, interviews and images, we’ve seen remarkable results.

Blog storytelling has reach. We know consumers will turn to blogs for product reviews before purchase, but it doesn’t stop there. Blogger commentary extends past its initial online platform. The most prolific bloggers re-purpose their content as part of TV interviews or contributed articles to other media. Here’s a perfect example of how blogger Lauren Greutman did just that for shopping app Retale.

Bloggers can drive a conversation. Despite the strength of social hubs like Facebook, many blogs are a two-way form of communication through robust reader participation. Through social sharing, comments and guest posts, blogs offer a targeted community that PR and Marketing teams can source for helpful real-time customer opinions. This quick and potent feedback can help shape and plan product strategy.

Bloggers build additional buzz. Blog posts can easily be shared on other social media. With newer platforms like Medium offering opportunities to place content, one post can lead many lives. Good blogger relationships encourage sharing and linking, which amplify and extend a blog post’s initial reach. These opportunities mean more readers learn about your product or service.

Blogger relationships can translate to real life. Once the initial relationship is formed with an influential blogger, odds are they will be invested in your brand. We like to find many different ways to nurture and enrich this relationship, including exclusive invitation events, retaining bloggers as paid advisers, and developing authentic relationships where we can pick up the phone (yes!) and share ideas.

For more on dealing with specialist bloggers and the communities they influence, check out Cliff’s tips for talking to top tech bloggers.