Putting a face with a name

In today's world of being "connected" nonstop via smartphones and social media, the PR landscape has changed drastically and one thing is certain: there is less need to have face to face communication in order to get the job done.

In today's world of being “connected” nonstop via smartphones and social media, the PR landscape has changed drastically and one thing is certain: there is less need to have face-to-face communication in order to get the job done. 

So much so in fact that a new generation of PR pros has emerged – one that rarely interacts one on one with the media they pitch on behalf of their clients.

In an industry where little is valued more than the solid relationships we cultivate with key media contacts, what's a PR pro to do when his or her tweet, e-mail, or Facebook pitch goes unanswered? My suggestion: go retro. And by that I mean (gasp!) pick up the phone and schedule some much needed face time.  

Here are a few old school, yet shockingly effective reminders of ways to get that face time with media and strengthen those relationships for you and your clients:

Desk sides. Traditional desk side appointments are an excellent way to introduce clients to editors, communicate their primary messages, and create a personal connection. These meetings are short, to the point, and offer something we as PR pros can't – the passion behind a client talking about his or her business in person.

Media dinners. Not to be confused with food reviews, these dinners are orchestrated for small groups of food and lifestyle media to have a chance to experience a restaurant, meet the chef, chat with the owner, and mingle in a fun, relaxed setting.

FAM trips. Budgets may range from little to lavish, but the goal is the same: host media at a property to familiarize them with the experience and unique offerings while interspersing opportunities to connect with key management.

So, in 2011, challenge yourself and your teams to step away from the e-mail, pick up the phone, and schedule an hour to sit down and connect. And not with your Wi-Fi.

Kim Julin Guyader is a founding partner of J Public Relations.

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