While there’s no specific formula for what makes one PR person or firm more successful than another, here are the core values that Cooper Smith works hard to instill in every person within the firm:
Integrity (The single most important element of successful PR)
Never lie, especially to the media, and if you say you’re going to do something, you better do it. Building trust with the media is the only way to be successful in public relations. It’s the currency that keeps us in business, and it’s the reason that we’re able to achieve the tremendous results that we do…which ultimately benefits each of our clients.
Strong, Concise Writing (a.k.a., Get To The Point)
Whether it be a press release, bylined article or just a simple email, being a strong writer is paramount for successful public relations. However, being a strong writer isn’t good enough – in this day of constant deadlines and “doing more with less,” our writing must also be concise, using only as many words as necessary to persuasively make our points.
Keep It Simple (a.k.a., Cut the Crap)
Avoid jargon and “puffy,” overly verbose language. More often than not, complex language simply distracts the reader and makes it seem like you’re trying too hard to sound important or smart…and the end result is usually neither.
This affliction is particularly pronounced in the architecture industry. Even Architectural Record, one of architecture’s most respected publications, has taken notice and has posted this directive on its website: “clearly present your ideas in a short, direct narrative – avoid flowery, inflated descriptions – the project will speak for itself.”
Have A Sense of Humor (a.k.a., Be Real)
Mark Twain said it best: “Humor is the great thing, the saving thing after all. The minute it crops up, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations and resentments flit away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Too often, people think “professionals” must be void of humor or that they must hide behind big words and veiled emotions. How wrong they are – many of the world’s greatest and most effective business leaders have been those who can relate to people at all levels and who know to not take themselves too seriously.
Does it Matter? (a.k.a., Will This Really Help Us Sell Anything?)
All press is not good press. Sometimes it’s just a total waste of time.
Every one of our clients is in the business of selling something – a product, a service or both. With rare exception, a good PR person’s goal should be to focus solely on media and outreach efforts that touch those with the power to make the buying decision, as well as those who can help them make the product or service better (members and prospective members, for example).
Now What? (a.k.a., What Do We Do Once We Catch The Milk Truck?)
While it’s definitely the primary goal of our efforts, securing a big media placement is not where a good PR’s person’s work should end. There’s so much potential for extending the life of the victory and letting others know about it. With every media success, we should ask ourselves “Now What?” Would an industry blog find the story interesting and link to it? Can we help our clients send this directly to their clients and employees? Twitter? Facebook?