SWAK: PR Valentines For 2016

Public relations work can sometimes be a thankless task, but occasionally PR pros receive “valentines” of sorts. Like the ideal client, or the story that just keeps getting better and better, the approach of Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to chronicle our favorite gifts. Here are just a few PR valentines that make us feel like we’ve been struck by Cupid’s arrow all over again.

Real news. Many PR professionals are familiar with the dreaded scenario of a client with little (or lackluster) news to promote, but very high expectations. What a difference it makes to have truly newsworthy stories to share with media. Not only does it make the job easier, but it ups the caliber of results we’re able to deliver and strengthens relationships with media contacts.

The ideal PR client. What makes the ideal client? It’s different for different PR professionals, of course, but we’ve been fortunate enough to work with some clients that have a good understanding of how public relations works, have interesting and newsworthy things to say, are present enough to provide the resources our team needs but trust us enough that we’re free to execute the work, and are just fun people to work with to boot. What more could you ask for?

The story that keeps on giving. If nothing else, the U.S. election season, and in particular the Donald Trump presidential bid, has been a media feast, as well as a gift to PRs and pundits of all stripes. Wherever you are on the political spectrum, it’s obvious that Trump has done a masterful job of creating, dominating, and controlling the news. Media and PR professionals don’t see that kind of story very often. Barring a crazy New Hampshire outcome, it seems the election, and the Trump factor, will be covered for a good, long while.

The perfect alignment of schedules. Providing top-notch service to a full roster of clients is a juggling act that often requires some clever scheduling tactics. It can get especially tricky when arranging interviews between media on one US coast (while you’re on the other) with clients in Europe or Asia. So we thank our lucky stars when the opportunities we’ve worked so hard to create sync up without contortions on our part.

The journalist who loves you back. Anyone who goes into public relations is a natural media junkie, and one of the things we love about the work is getting to develop relationships with media professionals whose work we admire. So it’s a shot in the arm when the journalists you pitch start to love you back!  Though this is a Valentine’s Day post, we know infatuation has little to do with it. As with any relationship, it’s built on mutual respect and understanding, and learning how to provide value to one another so the relationship continues to work going forward, as we recently had the pleasure of writing about in this post.

6 Ways To Lose A PR Date

With Valentine’s Day upon us, we hope you’ve found just the right gift for your favorite PR agency person. But in case you’re still figuring out the quirks and preferences of the PR pro in your life, we have some advice.

On a date with a PR professional, avoid these six surefire ways to make him or her run in the opposite direction.

Tell her, “I never pay attention to the news.” The savvy PR professional lives and breathes media, so admitting to being news-averse would be like telling a die-hard football fan you don’t know what the Super Bowl is. (And bear in mind that the Super Bowl is really a brand showcase, so even a sports-ignorant PR person probably follows it.) If you’re not a major media consumer, you might want to keep that to yourself in front of your PR date!

Yawn at her musings about the future of magazines. An extension of the first one, this is sure to lose points with your date quickly. PR people (and plenty of other smart folks) enjoy a good debate about the future of media of all kinds, as the state of media impacts the direction of PR. Being able to engage heartily in such a conversation will win you extra points for sure.

Assume she’s just like Olivia Pope or Samantha Jones. You work in PR? That must mean drinking gargantuan glasses of wine and planning parties all day, right? Or otherwise scheming about ways to make those bodies disappear. Nothing is more laughable to a legit PR pro than comparisons to fictional Hollywood publicists. (The same probably goes for comparing any real life profession to its fictional TV counterpart, for that matter).

Think PR and advertising and marketing are all the same thing. This is simply a lapse in knowledge that would not impress your communications date. While marketing and advertising are industries that work side-by-side with public relations, and are often related, they are separate and distinct disciplines. For example, although the line between earned media and paid content is blurring, PR people still don’t create or place ads.

Tell her, “So you just write press releases all day, right?” The debate over the fate of press releases aside, assuming PR is equivalent to writing press releases would be a major faux pas! Impress your date instead by asking questions about pitching and winning new business, or what it’s like getting to know the ins and outs of different client companies.

Fail to offer an introduction to your sister who writes for Buzzfeed. Not that a PR person would ever try to leverage a personal relationship for publicity purposes (wink, wink). But if you do happen to be close with a media person of stature, that’s a bit of information your PR date will be very keen on knowing — and could work to your advantage.

A Valentine To My PR Co-Workers

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and while the office may not be where the heart is, there’s no reason why you can’t spread the love to the people you spend a majority of your day with– your co-workers. According to Business Insider, the average person will spend over 90,000 hours at work (in PR this is probably 100,000 hours) with fellow employees. Yet, despite being in close proximity for hours on end, we often forget about how much we appreciate them. So, this Valentine’s Day, why not show your colleagues and even clients, how much you care.

Skinny Vanilla Latte, Two Pumps
This is so simple, but in the act of getting to know your co-workers, learning their coffee order is a thoughtful gesture – oh yes, and then bring it to them!

Do Double Duty
Offer to help a co-worker take on a monumental task that will benefit everyone in the office. Devise a brilliant company marketing plan, explore potential new business leads, or do something as simple as cleaning out storage space or replenishing the snack drawer.

Give an APP-ropriate Present
Candy is dandy, but why not gift your co-workers with info on a few cool, time-saving apps that will make their job easier? Try Evernote or Pages, for example.

Words do Speak Loudly
Take a second to congratulate a colleague on a job well-done, or just stop by their desk to see how they are doing. You may not only make someone’s day, but you can also help build rapport around the office. In addition, don’t be afraid to extend appreciation to your clients as well – everyone deserves a little love.

Cats on YouTube
OK, not every five minutes, but do send a laugh-inducing video to brighten your colleagues’ day, whatever stress their workload may have brought, YOU have just lessened it!
Have any other great Valentine’s Day office tips? Be sure to leave them in the comments section below.