Why Online PR is like a dinner party

The recent popularity of shows such as Come Dine with Me, along with the recessionary drive to save money, has lead to a renaissance in the art of the dinner party. With my tongue only slightly in cheek it has often struck me that Online Public Relations is a lot like a dinner party. At RealWire we think good PR is governed by four main principles – permission, relevance, content and influence. So how do these apply to the art of the dinner party?


First of all you have to either be invited to someone else’s party or host one of your own. In practice this means knowing who is going to be interested in you, who you have things in common with and then finding and getting to know these people. Until you have done this you aren’t likely to get many invites and if you invite people to your own party they aren’t likely to turn up!


If you have decided to host a party you must ensure that the dishes you create for your guests take account of their culinary preferences e.g. vegetarians, nut allergies and religious factors. No matter how good the food, if it isn’t relevant to them they aren’t going to eat it and causing serious harm to your guests health or sensibilities isn’t likely to mean they will respond positively to your next invite.

The other key area where you need to consider relevance is in the conversations you have. Before you dive in with your latest achievement or talking all about your work or your kids find out about the person you are talking to. What are they interested in? Then you might find that there is something about you or something that you know about that they might value and so an interesting, and relevant, conversation ensues.


Whether you are hosting your own, or attending someone else’s party, the food you serve, and the conversations you have, need to also be both of sufficient quality, and interest, to provoke a positive reaction on the part of the guests. This means planning and creating fabulous dishes and/or coming prepared with stories that will engage the other guests’ attention. It’s no good inviting all these people on the promise of a gastronomic extravaganza and then serving cheese on toast.


If you have done all of the above then guests at parties you host should not only want to come to your next one, but are likely to tell all their friends about how great the evening was. And in the case of parties you attend the other guests will not only tell their friends how interesting you were, but they are also likely to attend any party you might host.

So follow these four principles, and not only will you be a great dinner party host and guest, but you might also find your PR improves :-)

(This post also appeared today in my Fresh Business Thinking Online PR newsletter)

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