10 Habits of Highly Successful PR Companies
by Kathleen Donnelly on 09/12/2012
What makes one PR company stand out from the rest? The PR industry is unique in the fact that it is constantly changing and adjusting to the latest tools and trends. Whether that means incorporating and navigating the newest social media sites or keeping up with the latest news stories, PR pros need to constantly be “in the know.” Here at MMI, our singular focus on PR helps us generate business for clients across an incredibly broad range of industries. Want to know what it takes to make the cut in the world of PR? Check out these 10 habits of a successful PR company:
1. Focus on Results: When it’s all said and done, results are what matter most. What media placements have you gotten for your clients? What media outlets have mentioned your clients in a positive light? Clear-cut results are the most important success in the PR industry. Being able to hand over a positive and well-written magazine article for a client is an amazing feeling. But to get there, PR professionals must be result-driven and actively seeking placement opportunities for all clients. Clips, like a spread in Business Week, are tangible “products” that your clients can hold in their hands. Make it your goal to get your clients profiles and interviews on TV, radio, in print publications and online.
2. Know Who to Talk to: What groups do you want to target? What media platforms are most appropriate for your client? Obviously, in an agency setting, this will change depending on each client and industry. Successful PR professionals understand the space their clients live and breathe in. Whether your client is an engineering firm, financial advisor, marketing company or restaurant, find out everything you possibly can about each industry. This will help you pinpoint and clarify your audience.
3. Know the Media Like the Back of Your Hand: Before you pitch any media outlet, study it and the people who work for it. Know which format they prefer and which reporters cover topics that pertain to your clients. Read their latest publication, look at their editorial calendars, get a feel for their staff and study their websites. Doing your homework prior to pitching a media outlet is crucial to actually getting results.
4. Have a Good Story: Journalists recognize a strong story within seconds, so learn how to tell your story quickly and effectively – and make it compelling. What do you want people to know about your clients? What makes them unique? Once you can answer these questions, communicate this message with your targeted publics.
5. Be Consistent: A repetition of a consistent message is the most effective way to reach currently and potentially interested parties.
6. Be In the Know: Stay on top of current events and know what is happening in the media on a local, national and international level. Read the newspaper, watch news clips online, go to local media related events and read magazines. This tip sounds simple because it is.
7. Always Respect Deadlines: Here is a loaded question – when something has a specific deadline, is it better to just get it done on time or to have it perfectly written but late? The answer: honor that deadline and get the project done on time. Deadlines are absolutely critical for the media. At MMI, we take deadlines seriously on both an internal and external level. If you promise a client or media outlet that you will have something ready by a certain date, be prepared to follow through.
8. Make Friends: Do not be scared of the media – make them your friend. If you establish strong relationships with media contacts, they will actually start coming to YOU for stories rather than the other way around. Building relationships means reporters will be more likely to take your call when you have an important story to tell. As with any friendship, building trust is a crucial element and forms the basis of the relationship. Do what you said you would do when you said you would do it. In addition, touch base with media contacts frequently to see if there is anything you might be able to help them with in the future.
9. Think Outside the Box: Spread your message beyond the obvious outlets. Be creative and look for out-of-the ordinary partnerships for stimulating media interest.
10. A Little Persistence Goes a Long Way: Being a PR pro means you often have to be persistent. I once had a reporter tell me, “I feel like I had to meet with you because I admired your persistence.” Although I did not know if I should take that as a compliment or an insult, it helped get the results I wanted for a client. Always remember, however, that there is a line – if your media contact is not interested, respect the decision. But, if you truly know your story and your audience, there is no shame in making contact attempts until you are able to get a reporter’s feedback.
So, there you have it. Incorporating these ten tips to your PR efforts will allow you to get the best results for all of your clients.