In the midst of the latest sponsored social media metrics and podcasts, Facebook live posts and Twitter crisis, there are a few things that remain as true as when I embarked on my career in Public Relations and Marketing 37 years ago.
Yes, we used typewriters, soon after computers, had crinkly fax paper and did not have or use email. We, of course, learned all of that and much more along the way. The social media world exploded and we’ve kept up with the latest trends, software, metrics and more. But, there are still a few things that hold true in the Public Relations industry.
- In person meetings versus emails. Nothing can seal a deal, create a relationship or become truly productive like an in-person meeting with a client, an editor, an influencer. There is just no substitute for exchanging ideas live, reading body language, and spinning off each other’s energy. The same goes for phone calls versus emails. You can email media or others 4 times and not get a response, mainly because they receive so many emails a day. Pick up the phone and follow up with your story if it has any weight or if you believe in it. And certainly call the client to speak in person about a success you achieved on their behalf, or a problem you are solving.
- Give them more than they expect. Don’t take the shortcut, but do the full service, or report, or complete analytics. Clients are always impressed when you go the extra mile for them and their business. The whole point is to help them move the needle on their business goals. That is how you stay in business, how your reputation grows. It’s called integrity, expertise and passion for your work.
- Give your Full attention. Put the phone away. Give your full attention to your client, your colleague, your friend. Expecting a call? Call them back when you are done. Unless you are in the middle of a full blown crisis, give your full eye contact and attention to your client while in a meeting.
- There is no substitute for solid writing. PR Majors all got journalism degrees in the eighties and learned what a strong lead was, followed the inverted pyramid, quoted sources exactly, went out and found the story. When it came to PR writing, it was all about finding the strongest angle to a story, just like today. We were trained how to find the best story that journalists and their public would care about. We were trained to read multiple media outlets and see how they framed their story. If you had a factual error in your story, you got an immediate F. So always take the time to be accurate and double check your work.
- Give good counsel. There is no substitute for experience. It is the knowledge of having lived through a variety of scenarios, crisis, launches, new business, old business and other circumstances that gives you a walking library of Case Studies. Bringing that to clients is invaluable and is always appreciated.
At our Miami public relations firm, we are simply a microcosm of life. The five things that still hold true in PR also hold true in life. We work to be an invaluable member of our clients’ team. We focus on bringing new ideas and solid results to the table. Being present, using our experience and listening to their needs are all part of the relationship.