Patriotic PR: Advice From Founding Fathers

By Posted in - Professional Development & Public Relations on July 2nd, 2019

In the public relations world, good advice is a valuable commodity. One of the core reasons we operate this blog is to share the insight that we at Clairemont find useful.

In honor of the Fourth of July, I thought it would be fitting to take some public relations advice from our more patriotic origins. Before the idea of a public relations profession was even in the realm of possible occupations (most sources cite the origins of the term “public relations” to the early 20th century), some of America’s most influential people had quotes and advice that are still relevant to a public relations professional today. Straight from the mouths of colonial visionaries, here are our favorite PR quotes from America’s founding fathers.

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

– Benjamin Franklin
Photo from Pixabay.com

A quote from the endlessly quotable Benjamin Franklin that speaks to one of the hardest skills to learn in writing. Make your words count. In our daily lives we consume so much content that each precious second that someone spends reading your piece should be worth his or her time. Franklin reminds all of us to edit, cut down on wordiness and make sure that each sentence you write is something worth reading.

“You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket.”

– John Adams
Photo from the Library of Congress

John Adams penned this quote to his son (and future president) John Quincy Adams. In my mind this quote complements the previous quote by Franklin. While your public relations piece should be succinct, it should still be elegant. What you say is important, but it is also important how you say it. John Adams (my favorite founding father, by the way) imparted this advice to his son as a reminder to celebrate the written word and the artistry of a well-crafted sentence. Sound advice from our second president.   

“The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.” 

– James Madison
Photo from the Library of Congress

Our last piece of advice is from James Madison, the fourth president of the United States. I hope this quote serves as inspiration to all of us writers. This is the reason to write — to tell stories and share knowledge. As public relations professionals, we are positioned to help tell others’ stories — a gift that very few have. By writing, by sharing and by spreading the word about our clients and our communities, we help others learn about the world around them. We are messengers, both an important and in a way noble profession.

Happy Fourth of July! Enjoy the day, celebrate with friends and family, and eat a hot dog for me. If public relations work is still on your mind, you can find all of our professional development blogs here.

Will Hornbeck is a rising senior at Wake Forest University. He’s named after a Taco Bell. Seriously.

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