Calling All PR Pros...Be Bold!
Years ago, I had a CEO client who used to like to prod and poke, and wonder when his "story" would be on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, above the fold of course. He'd usually cap it off by saying, "will they need my picture for the pencil sketch, or do they send an artist to draw me?" All joking aside, I used to tell him that I could guarantee prominent treatment like that if he, like the dozen or so other profiles that were happening at the time, were tied to events of the day, i.e. company closings, embezzling funds, questionable dalliances and interpersonal relationships, poor management decisions, etc. Needless to say, the prodding and poking continued and we worked to figure out the best way to tell the story without using an orange jump suit as a prop.
With that said, the story was jogged by a blog post last week by Ragan's PR Daily contributor, Brooke Nolan, who filed a post on "20 Things PR Pros Should Not Do," well worth the read and some solid suggestions. The one point we as PR professionals do ourselves no favors on is by not heeding #13 under Client Relationships - "Do whatever your client asks even if you know it’s a waste of their time and money."
I like to think that many of us are fortunate enough that clients value our experience, advice and perspective. And, that we take the time to listen to requests, process the information and actually push back when necessary. With that said, I understand that's not always the case. So, I'd like to propose the following: If you're in PR, aspiring to be in PR, always thought about PR, want to be a real PR pro, or like to play a PR person in your spare time, do yourself a favor. Take the time to articulate why you feel strongly about a particular assignment, project, plan and provide support, to address your case. And, yes, that may even mean selling your idea. If you believe it's the right thing to do to raise awareness, generate coverage, be relevant and you've got the data to support it, be bold and say it.
I would hope clients would appreciate that kind of support - be it from an agency or if you're an internal PR practitioner and your clients are other groups within the company. Who knows, while it may not lead to a hedcut in the Wall Street Journal, you may just find another top tier publication interested in the story or another way to accomplish the task at hand. I was lucky, in my case, it was a Dow Jones feature. Maybe not quite The Paper, but close enough.