Survivor! New York – How to Grow Your PR Business in a City That Never Stops Communicating: Cut the B.S.
By Nicole Glor, Senior Vice President, Regan Communications
Living in New York City is a reality show. Working here is Survivor meets The Hunger Games. To stay alive, you have to get real.
Five years ago I launched the New York presence of our multi-office PR firm. Even during the recession, we keep growing, now with a cast of nine. To celebrate our anniversary in New York, I created a list of what you need to stay alive and secure coverage for your clients when the media market and client budgets keep shrinking:
• Clients’ expectations need to be set from the beginning. Everyone is rushing in New York, but in PR, you want to make an impressive first impression. Manage your clients expectations and inform them that it takes a few months of start-up time for the agency to really learn the client’s brand, brainstorm strategies, prepare the brand’s website and press materials, test pitching angles on media, and refine if necessary. If possible, don’t agree to anything less than a year-long retainer. I know most new clients want coverage yesterday. Before signing on with them, explain that in six months of good planning and aggressive pitching, they will be happy with your results if you follow the rest of these tips.
• Understand your audience. Not every client should be on national morning television or the Wall Street Journal. Be a fly on the wall at the client company by going to their events, understand who buys, attends, and makes the client happy. If you can deliver them sales, hits, connections, whatever helps them sleep at night and lift a champagne glass, your retainer will continue.
• Top media targets. Once you know what outlets will meet a client’s goals, don’t get “blogged down” pitching every blog on the planet. Limit your top target outlets to 10 or 20, then focus your energy and time on what the client wants, and not low-hanging fruit. You will soon check those top outlets off the list and expand to other media.
• Trends. Don’t be afraid to attach your clients to news stories, trends, pop culture, and be a little outrageous. My favorite story is the kind that gets a lot of pick-up. The story that gets a lot of pick-up is one that links to a current trend in pop culture and pairs two unrelated things together.
• Hear your clients, and make sure they hear you. Don’t talk over them in meetings. Know them well and understand how they like to communicate. Keeping great communications with clients is as easy as a daily call, email and a short weekly status report that they will actually read. Client likes excel workbooks? Start hitting that tab button. If the client likes to text, then text. Have to send your status report in a conversational facebook message? Fine. Just communicate with them the way they like.
• Eliminate PR speak. Don’t write a quote for your client that says she is “excited” about something. The headline should not use the word “announces.” Forget the terms “innovative, product, capabilities”… unless your media outlet and audience is B-to-B or needs to be written like this, don’t do it. Be creative when talking about sushi, beach getaways, a new iPhone app, fitness gear, etc. If the journalists you are pitching wouldn’t use the word, neither should you.
• Be Human! Companies don’t do business with companies, people do business with people, and that same mentality transfers to getting new business, making media contacts, and interacting on social media. Get out or get online. When you are authentic, you will meet likeminded people who want to refer you business. The media coverage will come when you stop chasing it and make real friendships.
• Social media. In your personal social media posts or the ones you do for clients, use honest language. Bringing your brand to a more relatable, human level will make your fans more comfortable and more inclined to share/comment and ask questions. Don’t be afraid to meet up with fans and followers, and ask people you follow to meet. You will already know what you have in common from their posts and a social lunch could turn into a full-page spread. I am shooting a segment next week with a reporter who found me on twitter, we met for coffee, realized we were attending the same event later that week, and have a great working relationship now.
Cut the BS – it’s New York. We get real here, and if you can make it in PR here, you can make it anywhere.
Nicole Glor is Senior Vice President of Regan Communications NYC (www.regancomm.com), the 9th largest privately-owned public relations firm in the country. Founded in 1984, Regan is a full service firm with six offices in Boston, New York, Hartford, Cape Cod, Providence and West Palm Beach. The firm offers clients a full range of public relations, community relations, social media marketing, video production, crisis management, interactive, marketing, design and advertising services. Nicole has landed clients coverage in the New York Times, Today, GMA, CBS Sunday Morning, Entrepreneur Magazine, Rachael Ray, The View, Women’s Health, The Huffington Post, and many other outlets for clients ranging from high-tech to fitness, from hospitality and travel to religious organizations. Regan clients benefit from Nicole’s decade of television news, freelance writing and media training experience and her proven results with award-winning PR campaigns.