We live in an increasingly binary world. There are winners and losers, givers and takers and in PR there are the quick and the dead.
In a world of digital news, mobile Internet and social media, speed and timing have never been so important. Whether planning a campaign or reacting to existing events, when has reached the top of the pile over the who, why and where.
To the PR consultant this is not a welcome development, as any ‘down time’ (on holiday or at home) is no longer time away from work. A good PR practitioner (especially one operating in a specialist sector) is on the news feed 24/7 and is ready to react for a client should an opportunity arise.
This monumental shift in the way PR is practised not only affects our side of the fence. The same urgency needs to be replicated ‘client side’. A news opportunity may now last a matter of hours rather than days. Clawing over press releases arguing over the finer semantics may cost coverage. Where there can be no excuse for PR operatives sending over sloppy work, equally, if the information is correct, accurate and ready to roll, sitting in an inbox for half a day may kill it.
So what do we (as savvy PR operatives) do?
– Make sure you know the news. Internet, key bloggers and following social media will give you a feel of what’s happening.
– Never be out of contact. The weapon of choice is up to you, whether it be an iPad, iPhone or other flavour of smart device, being on the grid is vital
– Be creative and quick. News, now more than ever, moves fast and you must move fast with it, don’t agonise over detail, be creative and take a punt
And you, Mr Client:
– Be available. Although it’s our choice to work these hours, be sympathetic. Check emails first thing, turn things around, understand delays will cost both of us.
– Be realistic. If we’re reacting to a Facebook viral or Youtube sensation, there may only be hours to leverage our news to get onto the trend. A back-and-forth game of approval tennis deciding on whether ‘extensive’ should replace ‘expansive’ will lose coverage and will destroy the will-to-live of the PR operative
– Manage your own expectations. High traffic means quick wins and frequent losses. To win big you need to play often, despite the often frantic rushes, this method is actually a marathon, not a sprint.
And finally, Mr Hack (wherever you are)
– We’ve sweated blood, lost sleep and have eaten meals plugged into a laptop (more often than not with our long suffering partners complaining). Please, at least read it…