Sharing practices & tidbits related to the skills, knowledge & expertise in STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS

More PR for PR

By Lysa Fitzhugh

Now that social media is part of the communication mix, I worry the profession of strategic communications (strategy, messaging, PR, marcomm, engagement, tactics) is more misunderstood by nonpractitioners than before.

Companies, products, services and individuals are more available and in your face than ever before and those who already have a good strategic communications (stratcomm) mix are incorporating modern tools and tactics. Bravo! Others are working on a shoestring budget and relying heavily on social media alone … risky, but still an effort worth applauding. Here’s the problem: they often neglect to incorporate strategy. Being visible is not enough – but I won’t preach to the choir.

We in the field of stratcomm are even more beholden to our own and the profession to educate companies, clients and potential clients where they fit in the communication and media mix (new and traditional) and how it best suits them. But how? A universal brochure? A PR czar? A contract to present to clients that basically says ‘do what I say and I’ll make you fly’?

I’ve decided the best approach should be individualized. Sounds obvious, but I’ve seen Web sites and information packets pushed out from PR agencies that aren’t doing them much good on their own. It takes connecting directly with clients. Really taking time and interest in how stratcomm can best be directed to support their business needs. IMPORTANT NOTE: The information we give clients is only as good as what they grasp. Asking them to read material when they are not trained in the field is a fruitless venture. Taking the time for a meaningful interaction that educates clients as well as the stratcomm practitioner as how to best approach and support clients is key. Don’t get so “big” that this element of service is neglected. Remember, our role is not only to help clients relate to the public, but to relate to them to accomplish this goal.

Mini Case Study: I had a heck of a time trying to sign a new client whom I THOUGHT I helped understand the stratcomm mix and the value added by incorporating it into their business strategy. I spent time with them and learned them and was fully engaged in their business offerings. With diplomacy and honesty, I presented the big and small pictures of this necessary support only to later learn they were reluctant to step out of their old business model, but merely lean toward this good idea. At first I thought they were not convinced of the value-add, but I later understood they have a very archaic way of thinking and acting – or not acting. They just weren’t ready and were not opening their minds to the potential of stratcomm. I agreed to start the process on a very limited, phased project approach so they could experience the communications support. This client is more comfortable with this method but it will be difficult for me to convince them of the value of my full support and even more difficult for them to reap the rewards any time soon. Baby steps. Oy.



About a Medium (A vehicle of communication … not a psychic.)

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Reading List: professional & recreational

So I was reading this book (it's like a blog, but only papery) when I found myself using my brain to visualize what the words were describing. What a nifty and unique experience! I then found myself transported and, well, relaxed. Huh. As it turns out, it's okay to occasionally step away from ALL screens.

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