If you want to be a successful PR pro, you will need to upskill yourself — constantly. Take it from our feline companions; they’re always grooming themselves, ready for whatever the day has set out for them. Just as cats groom, you need to refine and take out all the stray hairs out of your own PR strategies.

It’s here where we take a look at the five things cats do that PR pros can learn from.

Still not sure where the connection between PR and cats are? Well, let’s claw our way through it:

1. PR pros need to learn when to show their soft side

Everyone is well aware that cats do not always show their soft side; instead, they choose their people and timing very carefully when deciding to turn on their back and expose their belly. As a PR professional, this is something that you also need to be mindful of in every conversation that you have; understand when you need to ‘be vulnerable and show your soft side’ with your messages and when you need to be a little more firm and bring out the claws.

When you’re creating press releases or social media content, you need to remember that a brand has a variety of audiences made up of all kinds of different cultures and beliefs; therefore, you need to ensure that the message you are sending out is sensitive, open-minded and well-received when need be.

Additionally, there is so much stigma surrounding mental health nowadays, and there is a lot of insensitivity that goes along with it. That's why wording your client’s content in a softer manner is so important, especially when considering that there are those out there who struggle with mental health.
Need some help when it comes to showing your sensitive side? Then take a look at these Four wellness trends that every PR should pay attention to.

2. PR pros need to learn how to get creative

Being in the PR industry means that you constantly need to think out the box to ensure the media and public pays attention to your clients and their brands.

Why, you ask? Well, in a previous media update article, titled Three reasons why creativity is key in PR, we reveal that:

1. Creativity cuts through the noise.
2. Creativity can express values in a distinct brand voice.
3. Creative ideas align a company’s mission and market.

Constantly trying to push a brand’s message or a certain client out there can lead to a creative block — enter cats!

Cats are very determined animals; if they want something, they go and get it — no matter how difficult it may be. This is the mindset that you, as a PR pro, need to work on cultivating — get creative, ambitious and focus on getting the results that you want to see.

If cats have a problem that needs solving, or if they’re ever in a jumble, they will find a way to figure it out. And if you’re in need of some much-needed inspiration, be sure to do yourself a favour and Google ‘cats sleeping in weird places’ — you will not be disappointed.

How they got there, no one knows! But, we do know that they were able to get out safely, and probably, with quite a bit of determination.

3. PR pros need to learn how to groom their work

Practitioners need to pay close attention to the work that they do; the moment when you make unnecessary mistakes, it will impact your message tremendously. For example, if you send a press release to a publication and it’s riddled with spelling errors, the chances of it being published are slim to none.

The same goes for social media posts: If you post an image with a caption that is not in line with that brand’s voice, tone or beliefs, it could start a PR crisis that will be difficult to handle. Thus, it’s vital that you pay close attention to your work and make sure that it is spotless and picture-perfect — always!

So, what can we learn from cats? Well, according to Family Pet, “cats sleep roughly 15 hours a day and groom 10% of their waking hours.” This means that when they are not sleeping or eating, they are cleaning — and this is what PR pros should do too: clean up yourselves and your strategies.

If you’re not in meetings or on the phone, then go back to your work and double-check everything to make sure there are no silly mistakes that might cost you in the long run. The more time you spend on fixing your mistakes and ironing out any issues, the less likely you will be to make those mistakes in the future.

4. PR pros need to learn how to communicate more effectively

If there is one thing that always gets anyone’s attention, it’s the ‘meowing’ of a cat; when they talk, everyone listens. Why? Well, Karen McComb, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom “suggests that cats may be cashing in on humans’ naturally nurturing response to a baby’s cry.”

So, what do communications specialists need to learn from cats?
  • Adjust your communication efforts to better suit different target audiences. Every message has a different meow.
  • Tailor every press release according to the relevant publication. Cats meow for different reasons; when they want attention, when they’re hungry, etc. You too need to tailor your messaging accordingly.
  • Get to know your target audience to tell more relevant stories. Cats know who to meow to get what they want. As a PR pro, you also need to know which target audience will garner the most reach for your client’s brand, which will show you what types of stories to send out and when.
  • Communicate using emotion in your content. Emotion is the driving force behind any great ad communication; cats know how to play on your feelings with their cries, and you should be able to sway your client’s consumers in the same way.
  • Make every word count, avoid using fillers. Ever hear a cat ‘whisper’ their meows? Of course not! They’re loud and consistent, and so should every one of your brand messages be!
Cats don’t just meow for the sake of meowing — when they do decide to get vocal, they have a really good reason. This should be applied to your communication strategy, simply because the moment you just ‘talk for the sake of talking’, you will lose the interest of your target audience, and publications might give you the cold shoulder; therefore, choose your content, stories, and words wisely.

Do you want to learn more about how to implement emotions in your content? Then be sure to check out these Seven emotional trigger words every PR should use in their next PR pitch.

5. PR pros need to learn how to be more flexible

2020 has thrown a curveball at each and every industry, and PR is no different. This means that the way that a practitioner might normally work has changed — and not with small adjustments, but rather, with big disruptions.

Press conferences are no longer held in person but over the web, and the same goes for countless events. This means that if a PR pro wants to succeed, they need to be flexible.

Adjust to the new technologies that are being implemented (can you say 4IR?) and adapt to the way in which the world is functioning with lockdown. Learn how to use various apps and tech that will help make your next press conference or virtual event a breeze. Change with the times, not against it.

You work with countless clients, and by being flexible, you will also put your clients at ease because they see that you can go with the flow and handle any crisis that comes your way effectively.

So, what can we learn from cats? Simple: be flexible.

What are other things you can think of that PR pros can learn from cats? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

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Do you want to learn more about what makes a great PR? Then be sure to check out these Five characteristics that excellent PR pros have.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy