What does good look like in PR? The goalposts are scattered, according to season, sector, time client, time of day, even.
It could be brand awareness, it could be a change in behaviour, it is more often sales. Maybe it’s easier to look at what each and every PR brief has in common.
Working in PR is mental athletics. A 100m dash to newsjack something you heard on Radio 4 on the bus, a marathon of researching, pitching and persuading the world that your story, the one you have crafted so carefully, is worth sharing. It has windows of rest – after a phone call from a client who is so pleased with how hard you’ve run, they want to give you a medal. Quick! Catch your breath, it’s time to go again.
The news cycle is fast. A story lands, peaks, is everywhere and ‘poof’ – we’re onto the next thing. What debate can you join? What do you have to say? Whose side are you on?
So, we have to be rapid, we have to be impactful, and we have to be brave.
Good PR content has something to say, to shout, to share. It should influence behaviour, it should raise eyebrows, it should appeal to our curiosities and our daydreams later that day, week and month. It should remain with us long after we close that tab or recycle that paper.
Good PR should inform, educate and (or) entertain, that’s a given. But it should also make people feel. Understanding can be universally inclusive – whatever your industry. It can help get people on-side and if those people are customers or clients, you’re onto a winner.
For what not to do, our director Trevor’s latest blog offers a helpful list of the Bad Content.
‘Authenticity’ is a word I have heard over and over again, especially in our current climate. If we are not aspiring to tell stories which are real, human, or reflecting what is truly important to our businesses, our livelihoods, our passions and our communities – what is the point?
What makes me screw my nose up is the mundane, the articles which fall on deaf ears or worse – are spotted and discarded just as quickly. Why are you doing it? Is it because your competitors are, so you feel like you should do it too? It’s dull, dull, dull.
There is enough weak PR content out there; enough to fill the internet several times over. Do not be a party to it. Seek out the stories which have no problem fighting for attention because they are truly meaningful.
PR might be a test of speed and stamina, but in a few months’ time when we’re adjusting to the ‘new normal’, the dross won’t be remembered favourably. How you have made people feel, will.