In public relations, the work we do is often described in military terms: we have a mission or we go into attack mode; some teams are positioned as “boots on the ground.” Whatever the PR “mission critical” is, here are some actions to avoid for flawless execution as well as some genius moves.
Proposing tactics in search of a strategy. Nothing says “off-the-shelf” like trotting out the same old, same old for every new PR project. The ability to take time and delve deeply into a business before engaging will ensure a plan that is truly aligned with business objectives.
Mishandling media. This catch-all covers everything from less-than-diligent media list creation to over-promising a media contact. It’s best to have dedicated staffers parsing the media relations plan and executing a realistic, results-oriented approach.
Shuffling team members. Obviously, there must be personnel shifts if an account person is a poor fit, but when a team is really humming and clicking, it’s best to keep it in place to ensure continuity. Shake things up a bit when work appears to be getting a stale or repetitive, which leads to:
Uninspired work. Particularly if you have a long-standing relationship, you might scratch your head every so often trying to think of fresh ideas. This is where it probably pays off to do a thorough creative review of a key account brainstorm with non-team members to get a fresh perspective.
Poor reporting. This can’t be stressed enough. Don’t wait to be asked for a project status update. The best PR teams have several “built-in” ways to keep on top of work so that weekly, monthly or quarterly reporting is a simple function. Project management tools, group chats, and weekly meetings help keep everyone in the loop at all times.
Keep your cases up-to-date and relevant. Nothing speaks better to a PR team’s experience than a well-documented, compelling and current case study. The best tip: do them immediately after a project has wrapped and revisit them to amend or update.
Always ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid to get some constructive criticism from a PR partner, a media contact or a colleague. Recently a media contact told me exactly why my pitch wasn’t working, and it proved invaluable to re-writing and making something successful. We’ve also had a PR partner take that opportunity to extend our engagement.
Turn even bad news into media gold. Ok, so a recent political or business development may negatively impact a PR initiative. Regroup and maybe you can leverage that news for opportunities to present an opposing view and make a strong case. At the very least, always be thinking about ways to create your own PR “genius moves.”