Proactive PR: A Year-Round Engagement Strategy
By: Tyrha M. Lindsey-Warren
Managing Director, L.A.I. Communications
Date: December 15, 2015
Recently, I led a session on “Proactive PR” at the National Arts Marketing Project for Americans for the Arts in Salt Lake City, Utah. With over 100 attendees in the room, I facilitated this wonderful session with my partner in crime, Wall Street Journal Arts Writer, Lizzie Simon, on how to develop and execute year-round proactive public relations. Why? So often, public relations is very relegated as a reactive function of business. Unless the Executive Director or CMO truly values the function, public relations is often thought of as the last aspect of a strategic integrative marketing and communications campaign. Many times that is too late and the PR tactics that can bring the most value to a campaign are often missed. So, I developed this concept of “Proactive PR” from my experience working for organizations that always saw PR as a reactive function. I wanted to introduce this type of thinking to the Arts marketers and PR professionals in attendance at the conference. Lizzie’s insight was also crucial to this session so that the attendees could hear from a top tier publication on what journalists look for when you want to engage with them.
Since I am a marketing professor, I conducted the session like one of my classes. (smile) It was extremely interactive, fun, and empowering, with the goal to answer everyone’s questions. Some of the great questions from the floor included:
- What is the value in having an in-house PR department versus outsourcing the PR function?
- What are the best practices in distributing news using social media?
- How do you make media friends?
- How do you maintain your “voice” in the off season?
- Thoughts on cultivating media relations versus distributing only press releases?
The key take-aways from the session included:
- Give yourself TIME in creating and executing your PR plan. Time can truly be your friend in a proactive PR approach.
- Media professionals are people too. Embrace the “GOLDEN RULE” with your media cultivation efforts. Educate them on what you do and creatively invite them into your organization so they can truly experience your art (even when you don’t need anything from them).
- Develop a “GOLDEN NUGGET” regarding your PR pitches to media. A Golden Nugget is a unique aspect of what you are doing that is truly interesting and even unexpected.
- BE CAREFUL in using social media to contact a media professional. They may not take kindly to receiving pitches and follow up on social media.
- Always make a lasting impression with your PR efforts and LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE!
Overall, we had tons of fun in the session. (And, I think everyone learned a lot too, including me!)