Last month, I had the opportunity to attend the PRSA 2016 International Conference in Indianapolis. The theme, “Accelerating the Speed of Innovation & Connectivity,” provided speeches and presentations from some of the top thought leaders and influencers in our industry.
The event was a whirlwind of networking and learning sessions, surrounded by some of our industry’s best minds. I attended a variety of different sessions, and these are my three takeaways:
1. Embrace change: The majority of the sessions I attended commented on the constantly changing nature of public relations – at times even asking if the term public relations accurately describes the depth and breadth of our industry’s expertise. As relationships and client needs continue to evolve, we as PR professionals need to adapt and prepare for a dynamic environment, all while continuing to challenge and raise the bar in the value we deliver.
2. Refresh your perspective on your audience: Scott Stratten, co-owner of UnMarketing Inc, believes that trust, connection, consistency and service will always be the most important aspects of a brand’s reputation. Listening and engaging with your audience in their space is key in achieving authenticity. As Scott puts it, “It’s all about positioning yourself as a trusted expert in front of your target market, so when they have a need, they choose you.” He encourages us to not create a bias against our audience that doesn’t make sense, with the prime example of brands placing all millennials into one category – not everything is generational. Remember to keep the focus on your customers, and not stereotype their preferences and needs.
3. Believe in your ideas: As Michael Smart, principal of MichaelSMARTPR, put it, “Pitch like you believe you have something of interest, and you’re letting a reporter in on it.” He encourages us to move away from feeling like a pest and realize the value you are offering. When you know and understand the worth of your idea, with appropriate persistence, it can mean the difference in whether or not a reporter will agree to cover your story. Taking it one step further when delivering the most relevant idea, it’s important to understand the media you are pitching, and who their readers or viewers are. The conference proved that earned media is still a top strategy in our industry, and believing in the story you have to tell, is the first step in achieving results.