Evolve CommunicationsArticles by: Daniel

Posts By: Daniel

Why Working in PR Is Like Working in the Circus

circus tent

UPDATE: Thanks to the suggestion from our good friend @JamieLaceyPR, we created a poll where PR pros can vote for which circus character they are. Scroll to the bottom to take the poll!

We’ve been thinking about what makes a great PR person, and the various roles we have to play on a daily basis. More and more, we’re starting to think that working in PR is like working in the circus. And not only because it can be a chaotic experience. It’s fun, it’s exciting, and at the same time you have to be able to play a lot of different roles and do a lot of different things–all at the same time. And you’re expected to do them well.

Here are some typical roles we see at the circus…or in a PR person. It’s getting hard to tell the difference.

The Lion Tamer

Ah, the lion tamer. One of our favorite acts at the circus. Lion tamers have to be firm and fearless. They can’t flinch or show fear when they step into the ring with a number of big cats. And they need to be in command of their situation. A great PR person is like that. They’re not afraid to do what it takes to make things happen. They have an objective, and they work and work until they reach it, even when that means facing something that could maul them with a simple swipe.

The Tightrope Walker

This one’s especially true for those who work at agencies. A great PR person deftly walks the very thin line between what a client wants and what a client needs. Sometimes, clients have a specific objective in mind–like get on the front page of the New York Times. Yet, they don’t always know what’s involved (that’s why they hire us), or don’t necessarily understand why being on the front page of the nation’s newspaper of record isn’t necessarily a good thing. Great PR pros not only take the time to figure what’s really going to make an impact for a client (in a positive way), but also are deft at telling the client what they need to hear–not just what they want to hear.

The Contortionist 

A great PR pro is someone who is extremely flexible. We have to be. We often spend our days with a to do list that’s a million miles long, our phones and emails are constantly buzzing, and sometimes our strategies need to turn on a dime.

The Ring Leader

A great PR pro needs to know what’s going on around him or her all the time. This is true at all levels of the industry–whether you’re just starting out or you run your own show. You need to know what’s happening in the news and your clients’ industries. You need to know what’s happening with your clients. You need to know what’s happening with your coworkers. And you need to make it look like it’s all going off without a hitch–even when you’re not sure if things will come together the way you’ve envisioned them.

The Clown

No matter how seriously we take our clients’ business, we always leave time for a little light-hearted fun. ‘Cause all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Plus, if you can’t make fun of yourself, who can you make fun of?

The Human Cannonball

This one’s simple: A great PR pro knows how to get attention. That said, a great PR pro also knows that it takes more than just gimmicks to get the job done.

 


Does telling people to write great content make for great content?

duh

If you read enough blog posts about social media, you quickly will see a common thread that runs through it. “Write great content” is a mantra in marketing circles these days.

Well, duh.
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It seems like every time we turn around, someone is telling someone else to write great content. It doesn’t matter if it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, blogs, or your favorite bar’s bathroom wall (really, you shouldn’t be writing on walls, though arguably a bar bathroom is fair game for marketing). No matter what the question is, the answer always seems to be “Write great content.”
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Can’t we do better than that?
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As professionals–i.e. people who get paid to create and promote content, ideas, messages, etc.–we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard. Yes, the internet is often an echo chamber. Yes, we borrow ideas from things we’ve read, process them, and then miraculously pass them off as original ideas that no one has ever thought of before. Sure, there’s a common consciousness we share to some degree based on the common things we share online.
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So, without casting any more stones, here are own tips for creating great content, built from our own experiences.
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1) Ask your audiences what interests them. A simple five-question survey will help you find out what’s interesting to your audiences. What information are they lacking that they aren’t finding elsewhere? Figure that out, and you’re destined to win some hearts, minds and eyeballs on a regular basis.
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2) Find out what people’s pain points are. Along the same lines as #1, find out what bothers your audiences, and address that.
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3) Get visual. With the rise of Pinterest, we’re all thinking more visually today. Yet, we’ve seen lots of posts across a variety of media that don’t have any visual (obviously, Pinterest excluded). Find something interesting to grab people’s interest!
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4) Get comical. A pithy observation with a twist of dry wit can go a long way. Not only can it endear you to your audiences, but it can also help get your content shared.
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5) Don’t be afraid to reach out. Find out who your most vocal advocates are, or who you want them to be, and reach out to them. Compliment them, tell them you like their stuff, respond to their tweets. The bottom line is that you need to build a relationship. Once that’s established, reach out when you have something relevant.
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6) Have an opinion! When was the last time you paid attention to someone who didn’t have something interesting to say? And what made it interesting? Possibly it was their viewpoint. People pay attention for differences, and opinions stick out. Do you have to be controversial? Read number 7 to find out!
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7) It’s as much about how you say it as what you say. To answer the previous question, it’s not necessarily about stirring controversy (though that doesn’t hurt sometimes). But you can state an interesting, well-thought out opinion without being controversial or brash.
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Need more tips? We’re happy to help. Get in touch and we’ll talk.

Why Startups Should Hire a PR Firm

rocket

Investor and startup business icon Mark Cuban recently wrote that startups shouldn’t hire a PR firm. His reasons are simple and straightforward. PR firms are expensive, in his view, and they simply can’t accomplish anything beyond what a CEO can accomplish in terms of media relations.

Of course, we had to chime in, especially because we just launched Rocket Packs for Startups last week! Mark makes some valid points, and hiring a PR firm is not in the best interest of all startups. Yet, one essential fact that Mark glosses over is that doing media relations can take a significant investment in time to see results.

As the CEO of a startup, do you know what your time is worth? We bet you don’t, because that’s generally not part of the startup business model.

On the other hand, as an agency, we know exactly down to the minute what our time is worth. We know the amount of time, elbow grease and shoe leather it takes to get through to the media. And we know what they want (most of the time), so we don’t waste clients’ time trying to figure that out.

Many startups are going the lean route. And that’s a smart way to go. In fact, it’s how we’ve built our business; we keep overhead as low as possible, so that we can maximize every minute we spend building the business and servicing clients.

And we’ve built Rocket Packs with the “lean startup” in mind. It’s what our friend Greg Cangialosi¬†called “lean PR.” Can’t afford a full-blown campaign? No problem, we can provide a little boost. Want to just announce a new product or service? We’ve got you covered. Not sure how to approach your marketing? We can lead you through the thought process, get your messaging down and give you the tools you need to get started.

Whatever the need of your startup is, we’re confident that we can get you moving in the right direction, very affordably.