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Expediency vs. Legacy: This should be an easy decision, but isn’t
By G. A. Volb

Quite often in the Public Relations world staff is directed to turn product around immediately, the thought being that timing is everything and the faster audiences are engaged the better.

Rarely, however, should expediency trump the other elements essential to product development. Those few cases should be limited to crisis management events in which timing is, in fact, everything since lives depend on it or were lost, and thus, the local community would want regular updates.

In all other cases accuracy, focus, quality and depth must come first. This is not to say “quick turns” are without such elements, but they typically don’t receive the detailed buildup other products would – staff simply doesn’t have the time to devote to it.

Each of these elements, though, will determine the legacy of the product. And at the end of the PR workday, that is what PR campaigns are after – or should be. Simply put, not everything is worth engaging as a quick turn, but should be thought of in terms of legacy.

It’s the combination of focus, accuracy, depth and quality of the overall product that will ensure widest possible dissemination, acceptance by those engaged and determine how it’s looked at weeks, months, and years afterward.

To be clear, soon after any product is distributed the timeliness of it becomes moot, so it’s imperative quality carry the day.

As an aside, one of the very first things I offer up to new Public Affairs staff is this: anything you put your name to must stand the test of time. It must be looked at as a high-end product a decade or more from now. You do not want someone to Google your work and see marginal writing, photography, video production etc., because they won’t know or care that it was a “quick turn.”

Simply put, legacy of products and professional credibility hinge on the ability to find that happy medium between speed and quality. If unsure, always think quality first.


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