The marketing arena can easily be compared to a three-ring circus. A few clowns, a few death-defying leaps, and the ring leader is expected to single-handedly bring it all together. Of course, we can't forget the one person everyone expects to see- the great magician: shrouded in mystery, quite dramatic, and never without ability to manifest greatness from thin air at the drop of a hat.
So, in a recent RFP, when the company asked what PR “tricks” our agency had up our sleeves, I came to the realization that there really are people out there who believe that the practice of public relations is truly magical.
Believe me, if this were possible, all PR practitioners would operate from the beach. You know- a check in at the smoothie stand every so often and a wave of their wands a couple times a day for good measure.
Don't get me wrong, that sounds much more attractive than fighting rush-hour traffic in Cincinnati, but if you want to know the real secret about PR that everybody on the inside wants you to know, here it is: journalistic perspective.
The problem is companies tend to become so wrapped up in their own mission statements that they fail to see how they could be using their strengths to capitalize on current trends. This is why we so often see epically long releases about a business offering the triumvirate of the obvious: quality, service, and value.
These same companies also wonder why they aren't achieving the desired results. The difference must be that wand.
And for my next trick: getting that story in the paper!
Even our favorite clients sometimes forget that we can't get every story placed every time. It's been said that if placements were that easy to attain, all you'd read about would be PR firms. And it's true- if there really was a magic PR “trick,” you can bet you'd be hearing about it everywhere.
Magic implies illusion and deception, and at the end of the day, wouldn't your company rather be recognized for something you know a lot about over something that was concocted just to get you in the paper? No magic wand. No smoke and mirrors. And absolutely no tricks. Just a good eye, a little tenacity, and a passion for news.
Allison Brinkman is PR manager at The Eisen Agency.