April 10, 2019
I’ve just returned to Boston after an incredible month working in our London office. Beyond all of the fabulous cultural and social activities I experienced across the pond, my time in London gave me an insider’s look at the British PR landscape.
While I had been a little apprehensive before the trip about how my knowledge and skills would carry over, I was pleasantly surprised to find many similarities. Of course, there are unique processes and language nuances that I adopted but overall, the core elements of American PR rang true in the UK as well. It further exemplified how important these foundations are for a successful PR campaign.
Here are some of the most crucial PR similarities I’ve found for the US and the UK:
In PR, it’s critical that you have well-researched your media targets. A reporter’s beat and area of interest are incredibly unique to them and a diligent PR person will be well-versed in this before sending a pitch. The importance of this rings true across the US and UK in that it is a waste of time for the reporter and the PR person to be sent story ideas that aren’t relevant to them. Read a reporter’s recent articles, see what they’re saying on Twitter, try and coordinate a coffee meeting and actually listen to the feedback they give you. This will ensure your outreach is much more targeted and in the end, fruitful for you and the client.
A thoughtful PR person should always ask themselves, is this timely? When sending a pitch, no matter the subject matter, be conscious of what’s going on in the world around you. How does your pitch contribute to the larger discussion? Currently, Brexit is on everyone’s mind in UK and it’s certain to stay that way for the near term. Brexit has the potential to impact nearly every type of business sector and our pitches should be conscious of that. We never want to position a client in a vacuum. It’s our responsibility to find the connection between a client’s expertise and the news around them to build a story that is engaging, intelligent and timely.
While the common goal of PR is to elevate a client’s awareness, there are many different ways to go about this. Developing a client’s thought leadership is one of the methods I found to be the most prevalent in the US and UK. A client’s expertise often encompasses much more than the brand identity and by leveraging that, we’re able to participate in so many different conversations. The client can share their knowledge in how it relates to various topics and engage with many new communities. This is often more impactful than traditional brand news and creates deeper relationships with readers.
Whether in our brainstorming and planning or our day-to-day work, it’s vital that teams are pushing themselves to think creatively. Like my US colleagues, many of the teams I worked with in London are constantly coming-up with new ideas and challenging themselves to go beyond the status quo. Creative thinking is how you continue to re-invigorate messaging, spot new opportunities and drive momentum for a client.
With these tools in hand, it was a smooth transition onto the London PR team. While there is a lot of work and many details that go alongside these elements, I’ve found them to be a helpful starting point in navigating a new PR environment. At LEWIS, we’re exceptionally fortunate in that we have exposure to offices and clients around the globe. I can’t wait to see where I go next!