Confessions of an Account Exec: Stepping Out of Your PR Comfort Zone
Bridget M. Forney | MediaBuzz
A public relations specialist is an image shaper. My job is to generate positive publicity for my clients and nurture, maintain and enhance their reputations. All too often, PR executives get hung up on weighing their successes or failures by the amount of TV hits or print placements and their accompanying media values. But public relations is also about establishing and managing relationships with the company’s many audiences. Sometimes this is built on business objectives, rather than public relations tactics, extending beyond media outreach, press writing, legislative relations and other niches.
This is where client counseling comes in. While, as an account executive, I act on behalf of my clients every day, client counseling is about advising clients on interacting with their audiences independently and in what capacity. Finding unconventional ways to counsel your client is what will set your services apart from others’.
One business objective you can recommend to clients consistently is nominations for awards. Awards build credibility and instill trust in your client’s audience. Winning them is an opportunity for your client to prove to its customers and audience how successful they really are. By doing a little research about your client’s industry and keeping your ear to the ground for open award nominations, you’re bound to find an award you, or someone else, can nominate your client for. If an award is won, this business objective could turn into a PR success with a chance to publicize the honor to media.
Recommending events for participation or sponsorship is another unique tactic. There are three different kinds of sponsorships: corporate, marketing and philanthropic. With any sponsorship or event recommendation, it must be a good fit, or in some way relevant to the client’s business and/or audience. For a restaurant, it makes sense that they be involved with cooking demonstrations or culinary tasting events. For an attorney, pursuing an affiliation with a prestigious business or networking event may be appropriate.
In participating in events or sponsorships, a client is able to enhance their image and reputation and leverage another organization’s public reach. By participating in an event hosted by a well-known charity, foundation or organization, your client is granted access to their already-built-in audience. The beautiful part is that your client can choose the capacity in which they participate; participation can be as little as a donation or as large as an on-site display or exhibition.
Whether pursuing awards or participating in events, the end goal is to procure your client’s direct interaction with, and influence of, its audience. This opens the gates to the possibility of moving public opinion in such a way that has the potential to encourage business.