Truth be Told – PR 101

It was Groucho Marx who said “The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”  What a wise ass.
Successful business transactions and great press coverage can’t really begin without some level of trust. Clients typically come to the table with high hopes and extraordinary expectations.  Many PR agencies set themselves up for failure by over promising and not delivering, breaking that hopeful level of trust, (which btw may have been built on delusional dreams of Time Magazine cover stories in the first place).
One of the most interesting things we have come across recently is that our two newest clients did not even meet with us before hiring us. Everything, including signing our agreement was done via conference call and email. The reason? no one had time to meet and we came to them with a trusted reputation. When it comes to building trust however,  face-to-face interaction is still really  important – so much so, that even computers know. Check out this cool study released by MIT media labs in The New York Times on what robots can teach us about who to trust.
What we have done to help build trust with our clients
  • We know our clients want their reputations protected along with the most outstanding level of editorial coverage, but we won’t over promise results. Even our contract explains, our work is about putting our best efforts forth – reaching out to the media on your behalf.
  • Most clients don’t understand the process of PR, so even though they have hired us, we explain the rules* of the game along the way. Most importantly we help set them up for success by preparing them for interviews and editorial coverage.
  • We exhibit by doing which distinguishes us from a PR shop of pie-in-the-sky strategies and empty status reports from an effective organization of great results and helpful and honest feedback.
  • Along the way we have learned  not to exhibit things that are half done – the client may not understand the process of a developing story. So a story in progress – a pending placement – is not as trusted as a feature press clip or segment aired.
Media Trust
We have built trust with reporters, editors and journalists by stream lining our response time. One of the best moments in the day is to see a journalist respond to one of our pitches in our inbox or receive a voice message asking for more information about a story idea we sent them. This requires immediate action on our part.  Responding by honoring requests for press releases, interviews and images is what helps us build trustworthy relationships with the media.
*Rule #1
Trust us, we are helping you become a reliable resource for the media.
Trustworthy tips for clients
  • Having a challenge trusting your PR team? Put yourself in the middle of things to get to the heart of the matter. Ask questions, get involved and stick to weekly status calls.
  • Listen carefully to advice but be weary of those infatuated with their own voice. If your agency is a better talker, than listener, investigate further.
Want to learn a little bit more about trust – like what media is most trusted  check out Edelman’s Trust Barometer

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