PR is never forgetting the basics….

I was talking with a former colleague of mine over the past couple of days.  She was faced with a major problem. 

If you’ve worked in PR for a while you’ll have experienced the sinking feeling in your stomach when your boss or your boss’ boss holds up a magazine and thinly veiling their anger asks “why aren’t we in this industry round-up?”.

It’s a nightmare, but it happens.

My friend’s problem was more acute.  While magazines move on and you can begin to address the issue immediately, analyst research reports have a much longer shelf-life. If you’re not in the analyst report that’s bad, if it’s a negative analyst report that’s a whole lot worse. Analysts are important in the technology business.  Not just for their reports, but because companies submit enquiries and base (at least part of ) their purchase decisions on their opinions.

Now of course dear reader, you are well aware that one of the major differences between PR and advertising is control. PR can’t guarantee results.  You’ll never see an Ad professional carefully opening a magazine to see if the ad made it!

The upside of PR (and the downside for a PR person’s mental health) is that analysts and journalists make up their own minds and as a result are more trusted sources.

The trick is to work bloody hard to make sure you are reaching and building conversations and relationships with the journalists and analysts covering your market.  That sounds like common sense, but often it gets lost in translation.

My friend’s firm was focused on briefing the most senior analysts covering their industry.  The firm’s executives weren’t interested in “junior” (their term not mine) analysts.  Unfortunately it was one of these analysts who wrote the report.

It’s a timely reminder for all of us that Public Relations is a complex discipline. It involves anyone that will influence your audience and your programs should reflect that. While it might be nice for your execs to be mixing with the headliners, it will be of little commercial value if you ignore the people actually doing the work.

Start with the foundations. Once your program is built from the ground up you’ll minimize the risk of these issues. Of course you’ll never remove them.  For that you need to buy the advert…..