Is there a cost-effective way to track our relevant regional mentions in a timely manner?
Many regional companies who initiate or expand a media relations program face this challenge, notes Valerie Merahn Simon, SVP of sales for BurrellesLuce.
"PR staffs at such organizations must keep a very sharp eye on the expenses associated with a monitoring operation that provides both comprehensive searching and rapid turnaround," she explains.
Until recently, it was virtually impossible for PR pros working at regional companies or on behalf of regional clients to achieve all three objectives - a large regional media universe, expedited delivery of the coverage, and low cost - in a single package. "Typically," adds Simon, "one of the three objectives would have to be sacrificed in order to attain the other two."
However, a regional monitoring service that delivers coverage electronically from nearly all dailies in a specified area is a good, cost-effective option, she notes.
What's the best way to turn my client into an industry thought leader?
"Encourage your client to publish a book with a big idea in it, and use it as part of a PR campaign," suggests Victor Cheng, president of Bookmercial Productions.
The book's main idea must be simple, unique, provocative, and even controversial. "This drives traditional publicity, social media, and word of mouth," he adds.
Next, select communications channels that reach the client's target audience, and get the word out. "Stick to promoting the 'big idea,' and sales will follow naturally," he says. "For example, in The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama discussed hope and change before ever asking for an order, or in his case, a vote."
A unique, big idea presented credibly is one of the most effective ways to create a thought leader.
My firm was recently retained by a foreign client. How can we ensure the relationship is successful?
Servicing international clients can be very challenging, but rewarding, says Christopher Harvin, VP of Levick Strategic Communications' international practice group.
"Even when putting in overtime to learn foreign customs or meet deadlines in time zones halfway around the world, it allows for so much personal growth and development," he adds.
If you're looking to test your communications expertise beyond US borders, Harvin stresses the need to be patient. As with any client, credibility and trust are built slowly, but international clients require more time to share privileged information or honest analyses.
"It's also important to learn the language," he suggests. "I encourage our staff to at least greet and thank our international clients in their native tongues."
Learn the customs, as well. Remember that what is often acceptable in the US is sometimes taboo overseas.