I am always in awe about how much I learn from our clients. During a recent roundtable discussion, agency experts shared their thoughts in a Q&A session with Business Wire clients. We talked about what is going on in the world, how these experts see the future, and practical tips for managing today’s complex PR world.
Here are four of my takeaways from the discussion:
Purpose beyond profit. Purpose beyond profit is often discussed amongst corporate executives. What I learned about communicating this mission from James Wright, Group CEO of Red Havas, is the importance of taking the right tone. He said communicators have to focus on the “three A’s:” Appreciation of the environment; Authenticity; and have your message be Actionable. This rang true for me because many brands are communicating this type of message, but aren’t necessarily telling the story from a human perspective. When it comes to purpose, take real action that impacts people rather than just saying words.
Focus on individual journalists. I found this to be very meaningful. So many PR professionals hear CEOs saying, “Get us in The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times.” Those are fine aspirations, but unless you have built relationships with journalists from these newspapers, it is going to be tough to get a story written. Think about journalists as their own media outlet and their own brand, rather than as a part of the larger media brand. Many media organizations use freelance journalists. Get to know them. Follow them on social media, learn what their beat is, learn what they are writing about, and communicate with them to build an authentic relationship. I am always reminded, “people work with people,” and when you build relationships that matter, it makes your job easier, and likely more interesting.
Join forces with paid media. Citing the USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism Global Communications Report, 75% of consumers can’t tell the difference between paid, shared, or earned media; our experts agreed that your story needs to be told across the media landscape. Vivian Kelly, CEO of Interprose, stated it this way, “Whether a brand pays for the content or whether it is generated by earned media, an editorial feel and consistent voice across paid and other channels will resonate with readers.”
Technology is changing PR. Artificial intelligence and virtual reality aren’t going away. As William Mills III, CEO of William Mills Agency, put it, “Many companies have eliminated the travel and conference budgets, (you need a) channel to get in front of prospective clients.” Using virtual reality can be an innovative way to get in front of an audience, and PR can take the lead.
In summary, to get your story told, build relationships by being authentic, show appreciation, and take action.
Download our whitepaper, Emerging Trends for PR Practitioners: Advice from agency experts.
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