The most important relationships in a PR’s professional life
With Valentines upon us, the topic of love and relationships is in the air. This got us talking about the important relationships that play out in our working lives as PR professionals, and three in particular were at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
Our latest blog will explore these in a little detail, and highlight how nurturing these can lead to a long and meaningful career in PR.
Media relationships are the bread and butter of a PR professionals’ role. They should be at the centre of all your thinking when strategizing. While anyone can blanket send an email to a few people, it is the underlying relationships you build with your contacts that will set you apart from the rest.
Seasoned journalists can spot a copy-and-paste email a mile away. Not only will that make it unlikely for them to cover whatever you’re sending, but you could burn bridges in doing so. This could make it difficult to build a connection in the future and even result in your pitch being ignored, even if it would normally be of interest to whoever you’re sending it to.
Don’t be afraid of initiating a conversation. Journalists spend countless hours sifting through emails asking for something from them – change the narrative. Find a common interest and you’re far more likely to cultivate a working relationship in the long term.
Dale Carnegie’s iconic book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ explains this at great length. It also gives numerous high-profile examples (more on this in an upcoming blog post!).
Finally, ask yourself the question “why would the person I’m sending this to be interested in what I’m proposing?”. If you can answer this with some clarity and confidence, you’re halfway there!
The second, and by no means less important relationship, is the relationship with your client. Fostering good client relationships allows for transparency and an openness that will lead to the best results.
Client relationships often falls into several different categories, some of which are described below.
Every client wants to see results right at the start of a campaign, and rightfully so. However, depending on the nature of the campaign, this may or may not be realistic. By having honest dialogue right from the planning stage and setting SMART goals with your communications objectives and overall outcomes, this enables you to balance expectation with reality. Doing so ensures both of you are on the same page and can work effectively towards clearly defined aims.
As a PR agency consisting of communications experts, this should be a given, but it isn’t always the case! Maintaining consistent, regular dialogue with a client goes a long way to building strong working relationships. Even if you aren’t presenting opportunities or reporting coverage, retaining open dialogue with a client and keeping them updated is important. This goes a long way to building trust, something that is vital for the long-term success of any project.
A pillar of any business partnership, trust is especially important in maintaining client relationships in PR. Unlike marketing or sales, PR doesn’t always have directly measurable metrics to use when judging ROI. This means there is often a grey area where your effect on a campaign for a client isn’t always clear. This is especially true when PR is being used as part of a mix of other services – such as sales, marketing and advertising.
While it can sometimes be difficult to judge the value of PR, being clear from the start and setting defined goals helps the client measure the effect of PR on a campaign. Being open and collaboratively deciding on what is going to be most impactful for a client’s strategic objectives gives a benchmark to measure PR. These aren’t always the most views, or engagements. This helps a PR professional to focus all their activities on clear goals that will actually move the needle. This collaborative approach – involving the client at every stage – builds trust. It also enables the space to work when a campaign inevitably has a quiet moment.
As the saying goes, “a team is only as strong as its weakest link”. This is something we firmly believe in here at High-Rise. As a PR agency we are a small team, and place great importance in cultivating a positive work culture. This means that everybody feels heard. We feel this is vital to our success as a company, as everybody has different experiences and strengths. This flexibility allows us to be agile, and enables creative discussions that help to maximise the whole team’s input.
To do that, we strive to give our team the autonomy to work in the way that gets the best out of them. This means trusting them to get the job done. After all, no two people are the same.