Psst. I’m about to give up a trade secret. Just don’t let the folks at PRSA know I’m doing it. Ok?
Public relations isn’t as easy as some might think it is. But it’s also not as complex as some would have you believe. Wanna’ know what’s in the “secret sauce” that separates the successful from the, er….not so successful?
That’s it. Good old-fashioned common sense. Yes, certification, experience, years of training, relationship-building skills and the like all help. But the best practitioners are really just the ones able to see things from perspectives other than their own (or those of their clients).
I was inspired to break my unintentional blog-writing hiatus by a great posting which you can see here. It’s about writing news release quotes. How often do you see dynamic news release quotes? About as frequently as you see exciting corporate statements, right? Many tend to look something like this:
“Company CEO Joe Sixpack made the announcement. ’We are both excited and enthusiastic about the opportunity to continue to move forward,” he said. ’We will continue to leverage all synergies with the expectation of mutual success.”
Here’s where the common sense comes in. Does anybody really ever talk like that, unless he/she is being quoted for a press release? Does the editor/reporter/reader really find anything of interest in it? Does it help advance my key message and, more importantly, advance our PR objectives (brand awareness, lead generation, etc.)?
You don’t need ten years of PR practice to answer that. And yet, every day, reporters and editors are assaulted by the banal, the mundane and the useless. A few hundred characters of wasted space. In the practice of law, language like that is called “surplusage.”
Whether you’re pitching a story to a publication, writing a press release or even putting an ad together, a healthy dose of common sense needs to be used. Yes, we need to advance the cause of our clients. But we can’t do that without an eye to what interests their target markets.
Sounds simple. And yet, so often, it’s forgotten in the final “deliverable,” be it a marketing e-mail or white paper. Why? Who knows? Maybe we get so wrapped up in the project, so close to the details, that we lose the big picture. Maybe it’s the way we’ve always done it. Whatever it is, it doesn’t help our client.
That’s just common sense, no?