We get a lot of questions from our readers. Each month I select one and on the subject brought up by the reader. PR is not passive – it is active and is not for sissies. Here are 6 of the top questions I get asked. Heed my advice and shout from the rooftops.
1. What is the difference between passive, active and proactive public relations?
The difference is making the news and just “reporting” the news. News happens, but many people do not know that journalists are looking for news. It’s not every day that a famous celeb gets married or divorced, or some catastrophe happens that ties up the news ways. News is created. Being active is writing press releases and putting news out there that you want the press to know about you. Proactive means finding what the current news is then figuring out how to make your news stand out. How does what you do relate? How does it differ? Do you have predictions that you could share based on your expertise? What is coming down the pike in laws, taxes, healthcare, etc. that you know about that you could share? Proactive is planning out your PR campaign to dovetail with your marketing efforts and launching them way before your marketing starts, and then continuing your PR campaign, hammering home your message throughout your marketing campaign – PR backs up your marketing. Too often people think PR is passive. Just because it looks like we sit back and watch journalists tell us what the news is, does not mean that they come up with it from thin air. There’s a whole ‘lotta behind the scenes happening and your company should be taking advantage of it.
Check out the campaign (sidebar) where United Colors of Benetton got gutsy and created news!
2. Should I make it a habit to be proactive or are there appropriate times I should be?
Being proactive is a mindset – you have to be constantly alert, constantly willing to out yourself out there. The biggest or best times to do it would be when there is major news that is happening in your area, your industry, etc. that you could contribute to. You have an internet security awareness training company that trains employees to recognize phishing emails from UPS, the IRS and the like so that companies don’t get hacked into and taken for a pretty penny. STUXNET (the deadly government cyberweapon that got out into every potential dangerous hacker out there) is now being circulated, so get on the horn and tell the news about what businesses should look out for. Be proactive. Make the news.
Here’s part of a JoTo campaign where we “social engineered” the news stations to get coverage for our client:
3. How does being proactive prevent me from having PR problems?
PR is an activity that creates credibility. You have 3rd party endorsements happening on a continual basis where people read these endorsements, see them on TV, hear them on the radio and see then all over the web. 90% of people per our market research trust their peers – so testimonials are key. 68% in some markets believe the media before they buy. The media publishes something good about you – you then post it on your social media platforms and then your thousands of friends share it, comment on it and like it. You just got 158% worth of what we call the goodwill factor. To equate it into dollars and cents – the amount of press we get for our clients is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars at a pop – that’s coverage. That’s credibility.
4. How will being proactive affect my relationship with my customers/public?
Your customers have a relationship with you because they trust you or they would not have given you their hard-earned money. So why be bashful? Shout your expertise from the rooftops. If anything, they will believe you even more. It’s good for client retention.
5. Does being proactive make me sound like a braggart?
Don’t believe the haters!!! Being a braggart means you are all talk and no show. Communicating what you know and having the results to back it up – only haters call that bragging. I call it confidence. There is no crime in being confident. However, the haters will want you to think otherwise – and if that occurs, pour the coals to being proactive event more… they will eventually go away.
6. Why do you say PR is not for wussies?
PR confronts the very thing that people have a hard time confronting – people’s minds. You are entering a position in your target market’s mind when you use PR. You have to be willing to get them to think how you want them to – and maybe you have to do some work. Maybe it’s not a stroll in the park. Maybe you have to overcome the fact that people are going to go through whatever gyrations that they will go through before they believe you.
Those that can consistently hammer the message home and stand their ground, continue to expand, take the market share through goodwill demonstrated (PR), then high-volume marketing and sales are not wussies.
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi.