Public Relations (PR) have gone hand in hand with marketing for decades. Over the years, both industries have seen huge changes with the advent of technology, the development of the internet and the rise of the social media phenomenon. In addition to keeping up with the ‘Jones’, globalization has increased, not only the markets available, but also the competition, making it more difficult to have a competitive edge.
Surviving in the Information Age has been difficult for industrial PR and marketing firms; the ever changing landscape of print media, digital media, and technology have made it more important than ever to ‘know your stuff.’ Because I am new to both of these industries, I haven’t been around to experience these changes myself and have not had to adapt to a changing landscape. My job here at Lohre & Associates is my first ever marketing gig, and even though we are a Marketing and Communications Firm, we also do a little bit of PR for our clients, introducing me to both fields of work and teaching me how to navigate through both. But, after all, the map is not the territory and no matter how much information is fed to me about ‘how this should be done’ or ‘this is how it used to be done,’ I had no idea what was needed to be successful in these industries until I started working here.
Given my short experience working here, there are some important best practices that I have picked up on. Practices that aren’t taught in college, nor are they often regularly discussed at large firms, but here at Lohre & Associates, they are discussed. Maybe this goes back to the longevity of this firm, but even though these may be considered ‘Old School,’ they are valid, useful and pertinent for a lasting company.
Build a rapport with editors and publishers:
Sending out email after email to individuals regarding your client and/or their product requires a lot time in these industries. When I think about how long we’ve been around, some of these individuals have known our company for decades, making for lasting relationships. This is why being polite, genuine, and patient are so crucial for success. You must recognize the individual on the other end of the email/phone are people too, with lives and events happening all the time. When you interact with them, be polite, listen and be genuine with your statements. When they don’t get back to you immediately, be patient. As someone in charge of the PR for a client/company, you represent them as well, don’t forget that. No one wants to deal with an impersonal, time crunching, fast-talking marketer. It isn’t going to do anything but waste people’s time, and that isn’t going to get you anywhere.
When reaching out to publications or a person about your client/product keeping up with all forms of interaction is crucial, especially in PR where publication dates, submittal dates, and advertising dates reign supreme. I regularly reach out to dozens of publications, sometimes daily and keeping track of who has responded, who works for whom, what deadlines are for what publication and what information is required for those publications, can be a daunting task. This is why keeping an organized spreadsheet or something similar is important. This helps keep track of whom you need to contact and whom you are waiting on to respond to you. In the industry, this is referred to as ‘the football’ and keeping track of the football can make or break a sale or worse, a client’s involvement.
Lastly and most importantly,
Don’t let the internet fool you.
Again, I didn’t know much about Industrial Marketing and PR when I started here, but luckily I have a great teacher, Chuck Lohre, who has taken me under his wing to teach me; but I, being the Millennial I am, do have a full understanding of the internet, social media, and how hard one must work to obtain valid information from both.
Yes, online Public Relations is a huge, booming business. Yes, everyone says that print media is dying. Yes, online content creation is important. But, big BUT here guys, don’t let the internet fool you. Print media is alive and well in the industrial sector. People who work in these sectors are more than happy to pick up a magazine and read the articles. Even though most industries aren’t seeing such staying power in print media, there is still something to be said about it. Not to mention, the validity that these publications provide. Even in digital form it is important to find a credible news source.
Finding valid, credible resources online can be a little discouraging. With everyone giving their opinion on topics and social media blatantly bombarded with ‘news’ all the time, sifting through the BS, if you will, can take up a lot of time. That is time well spent for consumers, businesses, and individuals to compete for the attention needed to see your product. Utilizing legitimate resources for your PR outreach is imperative to establishing credibility and maintaining that credibility. If a valid news source has a digital presence then PR outreach should be done; those types of suitable sources probably send out e-newsletters and other forms of electronic communication with their subscribers. These avenues are great for PR and can be useful in reaching your targeted audience.
One thing that the internet can’t always provide for PR outreach is quality information. That is why it is important to remember that just because something has a lot of ‘likes’ on Facebook, or is trending on Twitter doesn’t make it useful, valid, or credible.
Hopefully the newsworthy information that is available on these social media platforms will begin to take a hard right turn towards validity; focusing on objective, trustworthy, and responsible publication, at least I hope they do.
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