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PR Pros Dish on the Worst Advice They’ve Received

Giving and receiving advice is a common want among us all. If you tell someone you work in PR, they can’t wait to tell you their secret tactic for PR success. Fellow pros were asked about the worst PR advice they’ve ever received. Here’s what they said:


“There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

Many organizations have taken this to heart, but that viewpoint makes some PR pros crazy. Perhaps there once truth behind it—before the advent of the internet.

Today, a brand’s missteps are easily collected through a Google search. Bad customer experiences live forever on ratings and review sites. Even deleted social media posts can live on if they are captured in screen shots and published online.


“Send at least one press release per month.”

Press releases are not a strategic objective; they’re busy work. You must have legitimate news for anyone to care about your release. Your latest revision to your product or rebranding of a model does not merit a press release.

There are so many other things you can do to amplify your product launch. Post releases on your blog, create a related series of contributed content, or collaborate with influencers on a virtual launch event. Don’t send out a release and expect to see it get picked up if it offers no substantive value.


“To increase sales, send a press release.”

PR isn’t an immediate boost to your company’s bottom line. It’s not direct marketing, and you shouldn’t measure it by a goal of immediate sales.

If you are asked to send a release to boost your company’s sales, push back. Explain that if they are looking for a direct sales tactic, you can help them with a drip email campaign, but putting out a release isn’t going to accomplish that goal.

Similarly, a press release isn’t going to bolster your stock price. It is your job, as a communications professional, to push back when you are given unrealistic goals for your PR tactics.


“Just say ‘no comment’”

It can be tempting to dodge a complex media request or a question about a looming crisis, but a response of “no comment” could do lasting damage.

By taking the time to talk with reporters and help them understand a complex industry issue, you can build a relationship that has an ongoing benefit and help improve the accuracy of the reporting on your industry.

The Keys to Extraordinary Client Relationships

Creating a successful client relationship is like making a cake for a friend. With the right combination of ingredients, proper delegation of duties, and someone to initiate the process, the cake will slowly begin to rise and bake.

This fluid approach to making a cake has several key components. If one step isn’t met, the cake will never rise. A wrong ingredient, or miscommunication on timing will produce unwanted results. Even when all seems to be running smoothly, there is a distinctive portion of the process that often goes missing. Similar to client relationships, a distinctive portion that is often missing is nuance.

The Determining Factor

Nuance can be described as subtle distinction, variation, or quality. These definitions prove to be insightful when pertaining to client relationship.

  • Understand Them

A successful relationship boils down to truly understanding the customer beyond the surface level descriptions of their role in the company. By diving into their personal motivations, who they are, and what they do and don’t like outside of their work environment, we can see them beyond the company. By discovering the nuances of their persona, it is easier to connect and have a mutual understanding of one another.

  • Observing the Unseen

With a better understanding of our client beyond their buyer persona, the grey areas that were previously unclear begin to emerge. The cooperation between a client can often times create certain hesitations when discussing the project. When should you lighten up? When do you push them on a subject? What sensitive topics should I hold up on discussing? Without nuance, this process becomes automatic, mechanical, and dry. Nuance is the key ingredient to generating a relationship.

Client Service

The hallmark of every good business is the proper and adequate service they provide for their clients. In turn, this generates the profit and backing necessary for any company to thrive. When analyzing what can be done for the clients, we must first ask:

  • What is the task we need to accomplish?
  • What should the majority of the time be spent on?

Project managers are often substituted for client service. Rather than substitute project management for client service, it should be used to channel the means of activating a profound relationship with that client, not detracting from the relationship.

Nuance Skills for Client Service

By strengthening and developing interpersonal communication skills, the subtleties that nuance presents become clearer. While the process is continuously adapting, here are four skills that can be referenced to improve the nuance of a client relationship:

  • Listen Carefully

By making a conscious effort to pay attention to the tone, pauses, interaction, and intent behind the words spoken, one can better understand what was and was not said.

  • Ask, Ask, Ask

If you can sit back, listen, and learn to what the person has to say, a mutual understanding can be created. It is by revealing the answers to these questions, we reduce our uncertainties of the relationship.

  • Context is Key

Although the relational context of communication is necessary to a successful client relationship, the context of the situation must be determined as well. We can better understand our relationships when we observe relational, situational, and environmental context.

  • Open-mindedness

Nuance will never be achieved if one can’t accept others. By broadening your perspective, one becomes more accepting, which is a skill we must often apprehend to in the workplace.


Remember your P’s: Podcasts and PR!

Finding effective ways to produce and promote content are common topics of discussion. Strategies that highlight your content allow your organization to build its reach and engage with an expanded audience.

Podcasts and audio posts allow collaborations with industry experts and provide new mediums for content consumption. In turn, this can enable PR professionals to successfully promote their organization.


New mediums for consumption

Industry blogs publish written content every day to engage with their audiences. Written content communicates useful concepts and allows writers to engage with their audience.

Podcasts offer a different medium for content consumption, which stimulates interest from audiences who are overwhelmed with written content. In addition to stimulating interest from your audience, audio recordings allow users to listen during activities that wouldn’t allow simultaneous reading, such as driving and writing. This increases value and versatility.

Connect with other industry experts

Unlike written content, podcasts enable an open discussion and exchange of ideas. Hosting a weekly or monthly podcast facilitates routine conversations between members of your organization and other industry leaders. This can give your audience access to dynamic and informative discussions.


Despite the possibilities for standing out and broadening conversations with podcasts, they do pose challenges, which should be considered prior to launching one.

Building a community of listeners

Although audio recordings do allow unique and expanded opportunities, converting people to listeners can be a challenge. Unlike blog posts, podcasts require greater involvement from your audience.

Production processes

In comparison to written content, the production of podcasts can pose additional complications. Podcasts require a bit more work.

Expensive audio equipment isn’t required to produce podcasts. However, higher quality microphones are recommended for producing a better sound quality. Microphones that minimize background noises and unwanted sounds like echoes are ideal because these sounds can be distracting to listeners. Headsets that are structured for cell phone use do offer an inexpensive option for recording. However, USB and analog microphones are sold at various prices and provide higher quality results.

Audio editing software is another requirement for making changes to recorded files. There is professionally licensed audio software, but these can cost hundreds of dollars.

Although establishing a podcast poses potential difficulties, successful employment allows professionals to expand their engagement with their audience and provides opportunities for more dynamic, engaging discussions of relevant industry topics.

4 Guidelines to Improve Client Communication

“Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud.” – Herman Hesse

Public Relations are immersed in managing effective and appropriate communication for optimal client achievement. However, problems continually arise between our coworkers and our clients with the messages we attempt to transmit to one another.

Communication skills are never a given, and we often challenge ourselves in this aspect when approaching a new client, by analyzing their needs. The majority of the time spent on the emergence of new clients is dedicated to creating useful content, crafting persuasive messages, and recognizing potential untapped markets.

Why isn’t more time dedicated to developing a clear communication strategy with the client? Here are some insights as to why making client communication a primary concern.


  1. Personality: Know your client

It is very rare to find clients that operate with the same ideology. Each experience with a new client is unique. Taking that into consideration, the approach to each client will also have to be unique. Company style and ‘persona’ continuously vary and must be identified for success.

The most effective way to internalize and assess the fabric and framework of a client is to ask questions. Only by asking questions will a PR firm realize their niche in providing the client with what they NEED, no what they MIGHT need. Client interaction creates an illustration of that company’s culture.

  1. Teamwork: Not a one-person job

Frequently, clients are delegated and distributed to a specific number of employees. Although team members have work-related relationships amongst one another, client accounts are mainly individual and task-oriented. Obviously, the person managing the account will be more aware of the client’s style and needs than their coworkers. It is pertinent that business and personal account information becomes mutually exclusive with the rest of the team. Within reason, the personal information may be confidential. However, this info exchange may include client struggles, concerns, or organizational issues.

By putting your team members on the same page, the team is able to evade the obstacle of miscommunication.

  1. Efficiency: Style coordination is key

Similar to how every new client is unique and time is taken to learn their ‘persona’, both sides must facilitate and operate synonymously. Companies may have a process and structure of organization and communication that isn’t in line with a PR firm’s modes of operation. The most effective process will be the one that works for both parties.

Flexibility and acceptance are crucial to integrating a reciprocated understanding. For example, some clients prefer a certain communication app over another (Skype vs Zoom) or have specific objectives on how to label and send their documents via email. Being adaptive and adjustable allows more room for success and improvement.

  1. Rules: Keep it basic and follow them

Although the process of communication is rarely appreciated or noticed, people often lose sight of their intention when they begin speaking to a client. Keeping a list close by of the points and detail one wants to discuss will keep the conversation on track and in check. When the rambling, unimportant tasks and partial information come into play, the conversation will have lost much of its value and the time of both parties. To maintain satisfied clients, one must be able to maintain an engaged conversation, exchanging the necessary information, and wavering from distractions.


Effective client communication is vital to Public Relations success! A PR firm with competent communicators will create a long-term success and development for future clients.

Visuals, Content, and Everything in Between

“Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up” – Allen Klein.

How many articles have you read without a picture attached? Probably tons!

How many articles with impenetrable blocks of text could benefit from a visual? The answer is all of them!

As we ease into 2017, marketers are still unaware of the value a picture or video can contribute to their message. As children, we loved reading picture books, and now as adults not much has changed. Here are some benefits to including impactful images to your PR content:



It is pertinent to find images that relate to your text so that people can better understand the intention of your message. Approximately 65% of people are visual learners, opposed to the 10% who retain best through verbal communication. A compelling title, with either a captivating picture or an extravagant video, will allow the article to create a stronger appeal for the reader.

Think of your article like a museum; all of the exhibits need to have an adequate image, video or structure along with the title to depict the motivation of the exhibit for the visitors.

Use Balance.

The PR content you provide needs to withhold the reader’s attention span. With our resources for information transitioning almost entirely to a digital network, it is practically effortless to swipe through an article without retaining any of the content. If your visuals prove to be an extension of your content, the average time spent viewing your article can increase beyond the initial 15-second scan most viewers employ.

However, if this is taken to the extreme and your content is either cluttered with visuals that have no relation to the content, the viewer will end up feeling deceived. The most astonishing photo will illustrate a negative effect if it deceives the viewer of the content provided. Keeping the viewer on your page is the biggest concern, and this can be done with a coherent balance between matching content and visuals.

Pathos, Pathos, Pathos.

Humans are some of the most emotional creatures on our planet, and these emotions will often dictate the viewer’s response and reaction. Recent studies found that the color schemes, coordination, and assembly can have an effect on our emotions (such as an impulse to purchase).

Subconsciously in our minds, certain colors evoke certain responses and this can be manipulated when marketing and branding your company, product or service. Depending on the content and motivation of your PR article, certain images could be deployed to retain specific emotional states of the viewer.


People scroll and browse through a variety of images on a daily basis. The trick to making yours stand out is to create a distinct and elusive brand that is recognizable to your company, product, or service. This aspect of marketing your PR content can reassure the reader of what is being written in the article.

For example, Instagram is a site dedicated to crafting visuals with a message in an attempt to captivate the viewer’s interest. Finding a worthy visual can take time and creativity, but if the visuals and content are able to improve the viewer’s experience, then the time and effort were spent wisely.


What Star Wars Teaches Us About Content Marketing and PR

While entertaining audiences all these years, the Star Wars enterprise has also been a great lesson in content marketing.

A close look at the Star Wars films reveals that most of the qualities that make them successful are the same elements that make up effective content marketing programs.

There are vital lessons for content marketers to learn by looking at how they marketed the latest release, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and how they are starting to build buzz for the next installment in the series.


Keep Details Under Wraps: There is little information coming forth in terms of information or trailers to satiate the fans until the much awaited release. Everything is kept top secret. Significant effort has gone in to ensure there aren’t any leaks to the movie plot.

The small details that are revealed get the super fan excitement levels higher and make even more people want to watch the movie. The success of the Star Wars franchise has been such that the audience itself begins hypothesizing about future editions.

Know Your Audience and Engage Them: What Disney did first to market “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was to identify its different audiences. And once they did that, they went about targeting each of them brilliantly with high-value content. Thanks to these thoughtful efforts and effective PR planning, Disney spent less on conventional marketing and advertising.

Knowing and engaging your audience is a tried-and-tested strategy that produces results. In fact, this strategy works even in the most boring niches.

Use Marketing that Connects to Older Content: Drawing parallels to prior content, if done in an intelligent manner, can work to build interest.

There were several similarities with the original 1977 Star Wars film in the plot. Disney succeeded by blending the right amount of the past with the present and crafting an innovative progression of a recognizable universe.

Serialized Content Marketing Engages Audiences Over Time: It’s important to note each Star Wars movie answers questions raised in the previous movies and poses new questions too. This strategy helps engage the audiences because they want to know how these questions are answered in future Star Wars films. This makes the audience want to see the next edition, and you can’t have better content marketing than that.

Telling a continuous story is very effective as a content marketing strategy. The content you create must be consistent, and engaging enough to generate excitement and interest long-term.

Create Content that Creates an Emotional Connection: There is something about the Star Wars series and characters that connect emotionally to people. For most fans, the fascination began in childhood.

And fans don’t just hypothesize about the plot of future films, they also talk about it on social media. The social mentions keep increasing day-by-day and that’s great publicity.

Encourage your customers, audiences, or website visitors to share the content you’ve created religiously on social media. Long-term relationships matter more than one-off promotions.

Though your business may not have the reach of Star Wars, if the content is relevant, useful and connects with your audience, you’ll be able to attract, capture, convert and delight them, causing them to become promoters over time.

Diversify Your Content Marketing Channels: So how do you create engaging, useful, and relevant content? Focus on various kinds of content marketing, like Disney does.

You have text, audio, video, apps, and games as well as branded experiences to explore. Disney focuses on all these, which actually helps them to maximize the audiences they are able to reach out to.

Create as many diverse content channels as your infrastructure and investment permit. Focus on diversifying your channels in a strategic manner. This can help you cross-promote your products, and you can use one channel to promote the other.

Consistency and Innovation Are Key: Consistent and innovative branding is integral to strategic marketing. This, along with the skill to adapt to new audiences and technology can help you attract more targeted audience and build an enduring brand.


May the content marketing force be with you!