Moving to Dubai and joining my first PR company, my manager was throwing me left and right working with various different accounts, saying that this was the only way I would come to understand the basics of communication and strategy. At the time I may have been at a loss, but as with most seasoned professionals, he had a point, and he made sure I found it out on my own: In order to manage an effective campaign, you need to realise that no two accounts will ever be the same but that by knowing the basics you can tackle any situation.
So what are some of the basics?
To each his own
Like I said before, no account will ever be exactly like another. That is why it is important to know each client’s goals and approach. Find out what they hope to achieve from PR, and make sure that what you give them is an asset not a burden to the company.
Turn a frown upside down
An effective campaign must handle any potential crisis effectively. Bad press could spell bad news for a company, but good tactics are more than capable of turning any situation around. That is why it is always important to be prepared and to keep track of what is being said in the media, so that you have better perception in the case of an impending storm.
Making any day into an occasion
Make sure that you are familiar with the client’s yearly calendar of events, products and promotions. Anticipating their arrival, while keeping an eye out on what other companies are doing, will give you the perfect preparation for finding ways to promote your client. The most important thing is to keep the public aware and to generate exposure. That is why it is essential to build good relationships with the press and media who can be very helpful in creating stories about the company and possibly featuring its events and activities.
To drive more attention to a company you have to monitor presence, which means making sure all content and tools are updated, like the company website, brochure, and any promotional materials.
Learn from your mistakes
It is very important to refresh and revise your tactics depending on what works and what doesn’t. If the company you represent participated in a trade show that was a total flop, you wouldn’t suggest it again next year, right? That is where evaluation is an important and ongoing process for any long- term public relations campaign. Mix things up, learn from your experience and use that knowledge to chart a steady course.
While I may not be the ‘Master of PR’ just quite yet, on my way there I have realised the importance of experience and a solid foundation of skills and tactics. You need both to work through any situation and to generate ‘buzz’ for your client. And that’s me giving you the ‘spoiler’ without having to watch to find out what happens.
How has previous experience helped you to tackle a current situation for a client? Where is this previous experience a necessity not an added bonus?