Sobering PR New Year’s Resolutions

If you are ready to turn the page on 2014 and are considering PR as a way to help accomplish your revenue and brand goals in the New Year, it’s time for some tough love.

There are more than a few cold, hard facts to consider before adding PR to your list of business resolutions. Failure to understand and accept any of them could jeopardize the outcome of your investment and leave you thinking PR agencies are a bunch of charlatans and fools.

Here are some basic rules of the game that, if accepted, can net you a massive return on your PR investment:

20% Rule: in any given market, at any given time, only 20% of you will stick to your resolutions and actually execute a successful PR campaign. Just like those who stick to fitness resolutions for the year are not surprisingly the ones who look buff and feel fit, companies who commit and stick to PR will gain a majority of the publicity and own a dominant spot in the marketplace.

Howard Stern: growing your business takes an investment, which involves taking risk. Growing your brand by promoting it through the media takes a willingness to think differently about your business, try new tactics, and generally out-hustle your competitors. Channel your inner Howard Stern on occasion to think about how to shake things up, show your moxie, and generally make a name for yourself that nobody will soon forget.

Putin: PR is all about earned media, which means you don’t call the shots on what a journalist or TV producer will decide to leave in or cut out from an interview – unless of course you are Vladimir Putin and the media eats out of your hand. If you want 100% control, then best try advertising, or toppling a small island nation with an AM radio station.

Persistence: one of my biggest pet peeves is that some clients don’t give PR campaigns enough time to hit their stride. Many expect to see results in 60 days or less, which isn’t realistic in every case. Some of the best media placements come after a PR firm has had time to comprehend the many sides of a client’s business, make in-roads with influential journalists on a client’s behalf and jump on trending news opportunities to which a client is well suited.

Warp speed: the pace of business in the Internet-driven world we live in is incredibly fast, and in the world of PR and the 24/7 news cycle it’s the equivalent of Captain Kirk asking Scottie for Warp 10. If you work with a PR agency, then please get ready to hop, skip and jump when an interview opportunity comes along. A reporter’s deadline won’t wait on your tee time or staff meeting. Companies must be flexible, patient and a little bit humble when working with media pros as they are the gatekeepers and kingmakers for a brand.

Royal Flush: PR campaigns are at their best when they are part of an integrated go-to-market strategy. If you’re not planning to combine your PR outreach with a solid marketing call-to-action across multiple platforms (email, web, social media) then you’re not playing with a full deck.

2 cents: PR agencies need to hear from their clients when coming up with ideas to pitch the media. Regular updates should include any information pertaining to product updates, new client wins, executive changes, etc. PR agencies are not staffed by professional mind readers so a little feedback goes a long way.

Dr. Phil: everybody knows Dr. Phil likes to give advice. Some of it’s actually pretty good, if you can understand that North Texas drawl, that is. PR folks have a few good ideas too. They’re professionals and experts at promoting businesses like yours. It would be wise to listen to what they have to say from time to time, especially on topics like news hooks, thought leadership, crisis communications, to name a few.

Enough sermonizing! May we all go forth and prosper in the New Year.

But, even as we try to make 2015 the best year ever, let’s also be sober in our PR planning and expectations so that we truly do have a reason to celebrate December 31, 2015. I’ll even bring the champagne!

About Dave Manzer:  Dave Manzer founded an Austin tech PR agency for startups and emerging-growth businesses in 2009. Dave Manzer specializes in highly integrated PR & marketing strategies that help companies in technology, healthcare and professional services reach their goals in brand awareness and revenue growth. To contact Dave directly about the PR over Coffee blog, please email him at dave(@)davemanzer.com.

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