Jenna Cook shares the truth about some of those ‘golden nuggets’ of wisdom that may be a little surprising.
PR advice, whether you ask for it or not, is something that people have no problem sharing. And perhaps it’s because we’ve all been in the position where we need some direction, a little bit of guidance or just an affirming sentiment.
However, we may not always like what we hear and, even worse, sometimes what we hear may not always be as good as we had hoped it would be.
In industries that are constantly evolving, such as the PR industry, everyone seems to have an answer to everything.
Here are seven pieces of PR advice that sound good, but in reality probably aren’t:
1. Hey, PRs: You should under promise and over deliver
In theory, this seems like a good idea; you’re doing that little bit extra to satisfy your client, more than you said you were going to do.
However, in a recent study conducted by behavioural scientist Ayelet Gneezy and professor at the University of Chicago Nicholas Epley, it was found that there is very little gratitude to be had from going that extra mile.
This may seem like an unusual outcome, and even Epley had this to say: "I was surprised that exceeding a promise produced so little meaningful increase in gratitude or appreciation.”
What does this tell us about PR clients? They are not actually looking for a pitch that goes beyond their brief or a campaign that exceeds their desires but, rather, a fair trade between you and them.
"Invest efforts into keeping promises, not in exceeding them," Epley concludes. “Behaving fairly toward others is the critical point."
2. The client is always right
While putting your clients first may seem like the most positive way to build a good reputation in the industry, it probably isn’t. Managing how your employees are treated, and ensuring their happiness, is a sure fire way to show them how much you appreciate their efforts.
In a bid to curb this age-old truism, Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, says, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”
This is not something revolutionary or even mind-blowing, it simply makes the most practical sense. If you put your employees first, they will put your clients first.
3. Remember to stick to your plan
It is vital for you to have a PR strategy, campaign objectives or project outline in order to have a good sense of direction. However, sticking to it 100%, especially when the industry shifts or you outgrow your goals, may be detrimental to your brand.
Lisa Brock, founder of Brock Communications, says, “Being able to adapt is essential if you want to develop and grow your career in PR. Staying on top of all the changes that you may face calls for ultra-flexibility.”
Sometimes your plan needs to adapt, and this is because people, places and things have a great knack for changing.
4. If you want it done right, do it yourself
As a PR professional, when you’re faced with a new project or campaign, it may feel like the only way to execute your vision perfectly is to do it on your own. Writer at Forbes, Jurgen Appelo, says “If you want something done right, delegate it yourself.”
If you are in a position where you’re trying to grow your team, it is imperative that you find the right balance when managing others. There are people all around you who have the capacity to help you achieve your vision.
Allow those working with you to engage and be as empowered by a project as you are. You will not only teach others by allowing them to increase their skills but also give you the breathing room to manage your project.
5. Good things come to those who wait
What is it exactly that you’re waiting for? The next big opportunity? Success to make its way to you? Why wait for it when you have the ability to go out there and get whatever it is that you want.
Alan Webb, author of Good things happen when you go for it!
, says, “You need to aggressively pursue good things for yourself. When preparation meets with opportunity, there is always success.”
Webb continues, “Remain in a constant state of preparation because you can never tell when your opportunity will arrive. A state of preparedness is demonstrated by a life that never stops learning.”
Becoming a go-getter means putting in the effort to build the foundation of success now.
6. Fake it ‘til you make it
You’re in a tight spot where a client has asked you to complete a task that's just outside of your skill set or you don’t have the most experience in. What do you do? The objective of this truism is to inspire confidence. But it’s a false sense of confidence, that’s the problem.
“Truth really is the only sustainable advantage,” says Geoff Beattie, in his article The number one thing consumers want from brands. He continues, “An authentic leader owns up to their mistakes and is honest with clients. Doesn’t sugar coat anything or sweep problems under the rug.”
In today’s world, authenticity is key when building a professional and marketable career in PR. Your clients will appreciate honesty, so it’s good to be genuine and display a keen interest in learning. And that way, you won’t have to fake it.
7. Never give up
When you have invested hours upon hours working on a campaign or project that's just not working out, it may be difficult to walk away. However, it’s important to know when enough is enough.
It is also important to keep in mind that failure is okay and that it is not the same as quitting. Alex Lawrence, business and technology entrepreneur, says that “The sooner you stop something empty, the sooner you can start something full of promise.”
The key is to be honest with yourself about the work that you’re doing. If you have made sacrifices, pushed yourself to your limits and exhausted your working hours on a project that is simply not going the way you hoped, it may be time to put it to rest in order for you to pursue something new.
It would seem that not everything that is said ought to be acted upon. Of course, it may be wiser to simply take advice with a pinch of salt.
And that is probably the best advice to give anyone in the PR industry; however, you’ll know what works best for you and what’s worth tossing aside.
Are you looking for more PR tips? Read our article to learn more about daily struggles that occur in the public relations industry: Six daily struggles of a PR professional.