Plain talk and hard numbers about PR

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By Leo Valiquette

Seeing the forest for the trees
Francis is fond of describing our roles here at inmedia as “advocates in the court of public opinion.” That’s a much more appropriate and accurate label than “spin doctors.”

But the role of advocate is more than simply conveying our clients’ stories to the outlets that matter. We must also be willing to impress upon clients the agendas, or the simple realities, of the markets we are trying to reach on their behalf. What elements of their story must we have to effectively attract and retain the attention of the media we are targeting? What works? What doesn’t? How is the way the client wants to approach things more of a hindrance than a help to our efforts? To adequately serve our clients, we must deliver frank and honest counsel that sometimes includes feedback from the marketplace that may be painful to hear.

Over at the PR Conversations blog, Kristen E. Sukulac offers an interesting perspective on this by citing a classic exercise in inattentional blindness and change blindness.

PR helps raise venture capital
Bottom line here: good PR pays. Don’t take my word for it. This post at PR Squared may be a couple of weeks old, but the findings of the study it cites are timeless. A survey of 300 U.S. startups that received funding in the past three years found a clear correlation between employing a PR program and greater success in securing new financing.

Time well wasted?
And over at really practical marketing, Mark Nagurski gives a no nonsense primer and how to create, and derive value from, an effective online presence and the pitfalls that come of looking at it in terms of traditional advertising. In his view, less can be a whole lot more.

/// COMMENTS

No Comments »
  • Mark Nagurski

    December 09, 2008 8:26 am

    Thanks for the mention.

    I wholeheartedly agree – it’s the job of any good service provider to provide ‘frank and honest counsel’. Even more so when that counsel is painful to bear.

    It is far too easy to reinforce the positives and provide a rosy perspective – but in most cases what businesses need is change. If the status quo were delivering the results they wanted then there would be no need to employ the services of a PR firm, or a content writer or a consultant of any ilk.

    Our job must be to challenge and provide the best advice possible, even when it’s not a popular opinion. It’s good to see that reinforced here.

    Thanks again for the nod – Mark

  • Leo Valiquette

    December 09, 2008 12:22 pm

    Mark:

    You’re welcome. I enjoyed your clear and direct perspective on social media. Several times I have sat down with a company executive and they’ve posed a question along the lines of, what should we do with this “social media thing?” Should we have a blog, should we do this, should we do that?

    My frank and honest counsel in this circumstance begins with the question, what tool or channel of communication will best reach your target audience? You must first understand who you are trying to reach and how they obtain their information before you can make an informed decision on how to incorporate social media tools into a marketing/PR program.

    Maybe I’ll print out a copy of your blog post to keep in my back pocket for the next time that question comes up.

    Cheers
    Leo

  • Ruth Seeley

    December 09, 2008 3:41 pm

    This was the paragraph in your post that really resonated with me as I attempt to explain to tactically focused clients that a strategic approach to public relations doesn’t constitute spin:

    “We must also be willing to impress upon clients the agendas, or the simple realities, of the markets we are trying to reach on their behalf. What elements of their story must we have to effectively attract and retain the attention of the media we are targeting? What works? What doesn’t? How is the way the client wants to approach things more of a hindrance than a help to our efforts?”

  • 21st Century public relations « No Spin PR

    January 06, 2009 4:32 pm

    [...] Here’s a great paragraph from Inmedia Public Relations: [...]

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