10 Essential Principals of PR That I've Learned | Trace Cohen's Insight

10 Essential Principles of PR That I’ve Learned

The world of PR has always been somewhat of a mystery to me.

My parents have been in the industry for 30 years and like a lot of my friends, you’re never really sure what your parents do. This all changed a few months ago when I started to work with my father, shadowing him and doing everything that he did. I’ll get more into that another time because I want to share 10 fundamental principles that everyone is PR must master and execute.

#1 Clients are easy to find – Keeping them happy is the hard part

Every company needs a PR agency hustling for them; they just don’t know it yet. Your job is to use your proven track record to convince the client that you will get them press, prep them for the media and help them with their 6 months strategic communications plan. That’s the easy part though. Now you need to keep them happy so that they don’t start looking for another firm to take your place

#2 Everything is positive – If it isn’t, make it

There is no negativity in your repertoire. If you have something to say and it’s not positive or constructive criticism then don’t say it at all. No one wants to spend time with a “negative nancy” because it’s just not fun.

#3 Your job is to get them press – Period.

PR agencies are hired to represent their clients for media coverage. If you’re not getting them coverage, then what are you doing? At the end of the day, no matter how hard you work and how nice you are, if you don’t get press for your client, they will probably fire you.

#4 PR is not public relations – It’s People Relations

A little cliché but still very relevant. It’s the client, media publication and the readers that you build a relationship with. Your job is to be the liaison between the three and master the ability to communicate and translate between all of them.  This is what separates a master from a novice.

#5 There is a reason for every action – It’s all behavioral

Once you start interacting with numerous people on a daily basis, you start to notice a lot of the small things that they do. This is something that you need to be aware of in business so that you can communicate properly with anyone when you need to get something done. The whole “be yourself and don’t conform to anyone else” mantra is dead. You have an objective and you need to accomplish it by any means possible, by playing to your strengths and truly understanding why people do the things they do.

People do things for a reason and you need to figure out what makes them tick. Common sense is an outdated colloquium because everyone has had different experiences. You need to be able to read people on the fly and adapt.

#6 Pitching is a way of life – Learn from Ari Gold

If you have ever watched Entourage, you know exactly what I mean. Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) is one of the biggest agents in the world because he is so damn good at what he does. You need to learn to talk to the press like he talks to his clients. He is a man that exuberates confidence, has no fears and knows exactly what he wants – with some profanity which I don’t recommend.

#7  need to have an agenda – Six months out

In the PR world, you need to be able to predict the future. No not really but you need to be aware of everything that will happen in the next 6 months that can affect your client. They need to know that you are looking out for them and that you have mapped everything out for them moving forwards so that they don’t have to worry about. There is only so much that can be done in the present which is why you need to plan for the future because it’s coming fast.

#8 It’s PR 2.0 now – Yes that mommy blogger has influence

When I first started working this summer, I naïvely thought that with social media and the Internet the PR world has gotten easier. Epic Fail.

I soon learned that it was the complete opposite because anyone can do PR now, especially social media marketing, which is a large chuck of what companies want today. On the other side of the equation, we have now analytics to track everything we do on our computers, and I mean everything. Years ago when a PR firm got a client an article or ad in a magazine, all you knew was the distribution of it – there was no way of tracking how many people read, glanced or even skipped over it.

That has all changed now that anyone with a computer plugged into the Internet can become a thought leader or influencer. Mommy bloggers, case and point.

#9 Words are everything – It’s not what you say, it’s what they hear (Dr. Frank Luntz)

Frank Luntz is the acclaimed marketing/PR guru who has worked with every politician under the sun and is famous for saying that “it’s not what you say, it’s what they hear.” This means that you need to use the rights words when talking to someone so that your message resonates with them and doesn’t get lost in translation because you said what you wanted to hear. Like the behavioral aspect that I touched on before, you need to tell people what they want to hear, using the right words. For instance, which sounds better – someone who believes in abortion or someone that is pro choice?

#10 Celebrate every success – more reasons to party

If your employee lands a good coverage for a client, let them know that it was a job well done. If a client lands a big deal or is celebrating a 1 year anniversary, make it count. Celebrating every success – even the small ones – shows that you care about them, which at the end of the day is the only thing that separates you from the competition. People like to work with people they like, make sure that your client not only adores you but that they respect you as well.