First, the struggle.
The PR industry is in flux. This much we know. The pace of digital innovation continues to accelerate, and the smart agencies are the ones that figure out how to get ahead of the curve in terms of skills, strategies and organizational structure. At the same time though, many clients are still measured by their impact in the dwindling print media landscape, and need the framed front page to prove it. Traditional media still has its place, and PR’s ability to tell a good story to the right people, is still vital. The mediums and channels may be expanding and evolving, but ‘back to basics’ skills will always apply.
Second, the question.
So here’s my dilemma. How do we balance these two needs in an agency environment? The mandate to develop new skills to keep up with the pace of change, yet the continued need to instill the old school principles that will always hold firm? Things like knowing what makes a good story or compelling message, building relationships with press and clients, and cultivating a healthy respect AND disregard for the processes and disciplines that make our work shine. How can we do both, without letting one of them suffer?
Third, the answer.
The answer came in the advice from a colleague: “Approach every PR campaign as if you were on stage accepting an award for it.”
Simple. But easy to forget when you’re deep in process and planning. When a no-news press release can soak up all of your time for that week. Or when meetings claim your most energetic hours. Or when you’re staring so hard at a very narrow set of goals, that you can’t see the broader mission. Regardless of the channels you use, skills you need, or content you produce, it’s the end result that counts.
It’s actually similar to a recent book I read, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. The basic premise is that if you feel stuck in a creative rut, try approaching your life as if it were a movie or a novel. Make your own story better. Imagine that someone is making a film about you. What scenes would you like them to film? If they don’t exist, how can you make them happen? Make them screen-worthy?
Go back and look at every single PR plan you’re currently working on. Would it win an award? If not, why not?
Need help getting your story across the media? Looking for a more integrated approach to your campaign? Don’t hesitate to reach out.