Calling all powerbrokers

January 23, 2008

PR Week is in the process of putting together its Power List for 2008 – I know because a friend of mine has mentioned nothing else for the past two weeks.  Giddy with excitement, she has been telling everyone who will listen to her the answers she intends to give to the questions posed. I couldn’t possibly give away any of the answers on this site and betray her trust in me, but believe me, they are gold – do make sure you take a look once it comes out. So it got me thinking, what makes a successful PR (especially at the junior level) and how did that differ from what I thought made a good PR before I entered the industry. Before my professional life: 

  • Excellent written skills
  • Exceptional presentation abilities
  • Polite telephone manner
  • In-depth knowledge of the media
  • A silky tongue
  • The ability to lie – convincingly

 What I think now: 

  • Diligent note taking skills
  • Expert management of expectations
  • Perfect coffee/tea brewing capabilities
  • Scanning proficiency
  • An insane eye for detail
  • A great big brown nose

 Well, not really, but a good combination of both lists will get you far in this world.   Notable example – A friend of mine (an Account Manager) told me a few weeks back about a client meeting he had.  The client in question is a very, very small plastics firm based up North somewhere which had come to him with the groundbreaking news that they were planning on moving their entire workforce to another facility.  Great, mildly interesting from a logistics point of view, surely their core trade would be interested.  Oh no, they wanted national coverage.  To deal with their rather excessive demand he said the following: The potential merit of this story depends on a number of factors.  Obviously XXXX has XX number of employees and is a major employer in XXXX but the current trend in the print media is to cover international shifting of manufacturing bases rather than focus on fluctuations in production at a national level. XXXX (his colleague – not present) has a great relationship with XXXX and we can certainly talk to the right people to see if there is interest.   Can I ask where exactly are you moving too?” The response: XXXX Street.” After a slight pause: “That’s the street a mile away from your current location, isn’t it?” “Yes.” He went away, wrote a faultless contact report and press release, met with them before the release went out (making a cracking brew along the way) and got coverage in the trade press. In his coverage report he wrote: “The story has not been picked up by the national media, but the release gave us the opportunity to speak to the right people about your company’s most important asset – its people.  We were able to highlight how important they are for XXXX and the next time we do a similar release we should be able to call upon those relationships to penetrate national level coverage.” The client was uber happy and commended the efforts he had made. He hasn’t been asked to feature in PR Week’s Power Book.  Yet.

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