I love a saying. I find myself trotting them out time and again – probably more so the older I get. I can almost see the eye rolls from here! The thing is, the news agenda might constantly change (minute by minute, at the moment) but certain PR principles remain the same. Here are the most useful sayings in PR you might hear me utter.
Forewarned is forearmed
Preparation is vital in all aspects of PR. It’s why we start off with a deep dive into your business with our Three Lens Messaging Session – so that we’re ready to answer quick questions from journalists and respond to media opportunities proactively.
The same is true for media interviews. If you can prepare answers to the most common questions – including those you don’t want to answer – you’ll feel a lot more confident going into an interview and representing you and your business well. We always offer a call with clients before an interview and written notes where it would help. Even if they’ve done interviews many times before, we need to bear in mind what’s going on in the news and what fresh questions might come up. We have some top tips on preparing for a journalist interview on the blog.
It’s an art not a science
This was one from my sister, who also works in communications, and has been a very useful sounding board for me (thanks, Char). Sometimes I wish PR was a science with a proven formula, and that effort in always equalled effort out. But mostly, I embrace the fact that PR is an art and sometimes things come off that you couldn’t have imagined working. That’s why, as business you should work with creative people who can quickly adapt and fully understand the media process.
Success breeds success
I found myself saying this just last week. If you’re building a profile from scratch, be realistic and allow time for this to happen. Your PR consultancy could land a stellar piece of coverage immediately, but often it takes time. Once you have a few pieces under your belt, it’s much easier for you to be sold in, as any journalist will do due diligence on an expert commentator.
We talk to clients about the building blocks of content – even featuring some interesting, pithy pieces on your blog giving your views is a great place to start. We’ve sold people in on the strength of a good blog before. There’s much more about building profiles through PR on our blog.
You can lead a horse to water
This is another key one – with PR, you can do everything well, and provide a publication or a journalist with exactly what they’ve asked for, but ultimately, the end result is out of your hands. It’s sometimes even out of their hands, as it might fall to an editor above them. The skill is in getting the best possible results in every situation, and managing everyone’s expectations along the way.
There’s more about why we don’t guarantee media coverage on our blog, and even more about the difference between advertising and PR.
It’s PR, not ER
At the end of the day (there’s another saying, creeping in!) our jobs are important, but we shouldn’t ever be anxious about them. I don’t want my team (or me) to be up all night worrying about work. We keep things in perspective, and we try and work with people who do the same. PR is responsive and can be hit and miss, but we have to understand what’s within our control and what’s not within our control.
So there you go, some of the most useful sayings in the world of public relations, and no doubt, I’ll be using at least one of them again soon.