By now you’ve no doubt seen the footage of authorities at O’Hare airport in Chicago forcibly removing a passenger who did not want to be bumped from an overbooked United Express flight. Any time there’s a viral event like this, PR pros are often just as interested in the corporate response as they are in the initial event itself.
Since the beginning of the internet, business owners have been conscientious about how their business ranks up against the competition in appearing in online searches- their SEO. After all, less than 10 percent of users advance to page 2 of a Google search. Many understand that the more links and articles one gets online, the higher the chances are one will end up on the first search page. However, depending on one’s goals and techniques, the first page appearance might not be as elusive as one thinks.
I was reviewing a story about one of our clients, Philip and Katy Leakey, written by David Brooks of The New York Times, “The Question-Driven Life.” There is a quote referenced in this article by the late Richard Holbrook that stands out, which describes the philosophy of the Leakey’s, one which they live by and makes me smile with memories of my interview with Philip: “Know something about something. Don’t just present your wonderful self to the world. Constantly amass knowledge and offer it around.”
There are a few of us – dwindling to but a precious few every year – that remember the golden age of magazine journalism…Life, Look, Collier’s, Time, Fortune, Sports Illustrated…and later as our tastes grew younger…People, INC, Fast Company, InStyle, Healthy Living, etc. A recent story in the New York Times regarding Time, Inc. brought back both these memories and how fragile they may well be.
Good business owners have certain expectations from their PR firms before entering into media relations partnerships. On the other side of the relationship, the firms also have certain expectations from the business client. While it is the firms’ responsibility to get coverage and meet the client’s expectations, the firms rely on the clients themselves to help them achieve the goals. In a way, it is perpetuating the old adage, “the best way to get help is to help yourself.”
We have a slightly different take on RFP’s. As a pay-for-performance PR firm, we seldom fit the prescribed boxes or rigidly required criteria, we look at every RFP as an opportunity to demonstrate our creativity tied to the prospective client’s needs; and in so doing present our capabilities in a fun, visual manner.
As PR pros it may be a little easier for us to get caught up in all the commerciality of Christmas. Even Charlie Brown, a well-meaning people-pleaser got carried away. It is bad enough that the general populace is left with a bad taste in their mouth when they see the retailers as taking advantage of the one time in the year when people are encouraged to be selfless and give.
While pitching the client’s story, PR people work in a similar fashion except that instead of going door to door, they send emails or make calls (mainly send emails). Accordingly, every good PR person knows that pitching to a journalist who is well known to have a “no soliciting” sign is a waste of time and the best that could happen from that situation is if the journalist ignored it instead of subjecting it to public shame. At INK, our bread and butter is ensuring that the clients get the placements they are looking for and as such our whole existence revolves around sending the perfect pitch.
An old adage has warned us that you cannot trust everything that is on the internet. If anything, the current presidential election was proof that this “old” tip still holds true. We already know traditional news sites tend to be at least somewhat biased to one of the two ends of the political spectrum, but why would there be outright fake news?
I realize it’s blasphemous to be a PR pro and agency owner and acknowledge the obvious…that not every client needs outside PR counsel. But if a client has the time or staff, a certain set of PR skills, the resources, and very importantly, a realistic set of goals, then yes, they can do their own PR.