Kicking Bad Habits – How to Make Publicity Important but Not The Primary Strategy for Everything

Submitted Matt Braun, Director of Public Relations – Hanson Dodge Creativefastfood

I’ll admit it, I like fast food. Have since I was a kid. And when I was a single, young professional, seemed a lot more convenient to swing by a drive-thru to get a burger or taco than go home, cook, clean, etc.

It’s a habit I’ve kept me with for some time, and have slowly worked to wean away from – both from a sophistication standpoint of simply enjoying better foods with better company and also a health standpoint (in case you didn’t know, not the best food in the world comes through a window). I’ve come to appreciate the journey towards healthy eating and what goes into good food.

Publicity solutions that communication experts provide to clients are kind of like fast food. Have something to announce? Write a press release. Have something that really isn’t newsworthy but have to meet your quota to make your client happy – write a press release.

And when you write a press release, make sure you put it out on the wire and pitch every reporter you know with it because its news, right?  Unfortunately, this is a mindset I see way too often in the world of communications.

Whether it be because we’re afraid to push back with client demands (internal or external), are lazy or just don’t know any better, we settle for the old ‘we need a press release, strategy.’  And I’m here to tell you its not good.

As professional communicators, our job is to provide counsel to clients. Counsel in terms of what topics have news value, what topics are better used on maybe a self-publishing platform, and what topics simply should be kept in the drawer. We need to think ourselves as message chefs that know when to sprinkle a bit in this channel, a bit over there, and then when to really make a full course meal.

That’s why our clients should turn to us, and if you have the conversation with clients on this topic they’ll thank you later. To be an effective communications professional you must understand that what we can provide – multi-channel communication vehicles – can help support real business needs. Need more people to know about your new product? Launch a YouTube based video series that you also promote via social ads and tie into in-store video that also can be announced via a press release.

Clients pay agencies (and even internal employees) good money to think. Don’t settle for a drive-by solution. Instead, carefully think through how a well-orchestrated program can help your client shine. It’s the kind of  feast they’ll never forget and keep coming back to you for.