Five Key Tips for the Emerging PR Pro
I recently had the opportunity to participate in a panel to talk to students in the PRLab Program at The College of Communication at Boston University. While the discussion covered a wide range of PR topics, I wanted to elaborate on some here and offer five key tips for effective PR as we head into 2014.
What is “good” PR?
Good PR is about the right ROI for that campaign. Did your program achieve the desired goal? Key to that is defining metrics upfront so you can measure them. This is a collaborative process and a very critical one. It’s no longer just about the clip count. Other measures can matter such as quality of coverage, driving visibility in social channels, generating leads, and building community – at the end of the day, PR is designed to achieve change – a change in perceptions so you need to know where you are today and where you’d like to be tomorrow.
What defines great client service?
This is about understanding your client’s goals and doing everything you can to achieve them within their monthly spend – it’s about the value you bring to the table to maximize the return on their PR investment. And, the onus is often on you to educate them on what activities make sense to pursue based on their budget and to be transparent about your progress against these activities. Once the client buys into the go-forward plan, everyone works from the same goals and expectations, which typically makes the PR process smooth and effective.
How do you build trust with a client?
The fastest way to build trust with a client is to deliver – do what you said you are going to do. If you are working with a new client, have a kick off meeting to establish your operating procedures and to set expectations. And, track and deliver against your deliverables by the deadlines you established or revised together. It’s all about the first impression so you need to be keenly focused upfront to get off the ground as smoothly as possible.
What happens if a client changes the direction?
You need to ask why. Sometimes, the change is due to strategic corporate shift so you need to change your message and the PR effort supporting it. Other times, the reason for the change isn’t as critical, so you may not need to abandon the campaign, you may just need to change some of the activities – the levers – supporting it. So, understanding what’s driving the change will help you assess your next course of action so you can make the proper recommendation.
What do you look for in aspiring PR professionals?
Come in and show us you want to win. Walk us through a positive and challenging situation you have been involved in and how you handled it. We want to know how you think and react to the unexpected. More than specific job-related skills, we also want to understand your DNA. Your work ethic, your attitude and your desire. We can teach you the rest.
I’d love to hear what other PR professionals have to say about these points. Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.