I tell our clients often that “social media” does not replace traditional communications and core strategies that work and will continue to work (generate revenue). Social Media gives businesses another form of information distribution and simply put, is a great way to communicate information to an unlimited number of people (customers) efficiently.
PR and marketing firms are both challenged and energized by this rapidly growing pace of information delivery and I think it’s important to periodically re-visit what works for clients. The temptation to “jump in” social media–which by the way IS time consuming–comes with a warning not to abandon the traditional strategies that got us where we are today.
In addition to getting clients the media coverage they want, I believe there are other values PR should bring to the client relationship. Here are some of the characteristics of a good PR professional and what-in my opinion-they should be doing for clients:
* Think Revenue Development at all times: Understand that the #1 thing businesses think about is revenue, profitability and growth. Constantly be on the lookout for revenue enhancing ideas, sales leads, referrals, etc. for clients.
* Be a good “dot connector”: Your PR professional should be connected in the business community and should be diligent and strategic about introducing clients to other important networks/people who can add value on a number of levels.
* Tell a GREAT Story! Our firm’s “tag” is “Who’s Telling Your Story?” I believe in telling great client stories. A PR professional must know how to get to the heart of the story, identify what makes it significant, newsworthy and interesting (and of course then be able to tell it).
* Be a leader: Your PR professional should practice what they preach and should be setting the pace for important issues in his/her profession. A simple Google search can tell you a lot! If you are interviewing a PR pro, ask them for a list of civic involvement, recent speaking engagements, etc.
* Generate productive ideas for multiple messages to communicate strategically: Companies have multiple messages to multiple audiences. A good PR pro knows how to be a good sounding board, identifying messages that often an organization hasn’t thought about.
* Be a team player and know the bench depth: A good PR pro will get to know a client really well including the team of people that make the company successful. If your PR pro hasn’t asked to tour your plant, meet your sales team, etc., then they probably don’t intend to go the extra mile (there are great stories and opportunities in the extra mile!).
* Available to you 24/7: Yes, I said that, 24/7. News doesn’t sleep, particularly in the age of the internet, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube. A good PR pro will give clients access 27/7, cell and home phone numbers. My clients know that if they need me fast, I’ll be there. My secret code (shhhhh) is to call my cell twice if it’s an emergency. The good news for me is that I have great clients and they only track me down at night or on weekends when they need me. And yes, it does happen now and then!
* Willing to say no: A good PR pro knows how to guide a client away from a bad idea. Often we have to help clients “walk through” various “what if” situations and analyze to the best of our collective abilites, the pros and cons of a story. I wrote a previous blog post on when you have to tell your clients “no.”
There are some other things we do for our clients, but hey–I have to save some of my secrets for future blog posts! Thanks to my great clients out there who give me inspiration everyday!