Archive for the ‘Thought Leadership’ Category
The 24-hour news cycle has given us many gifts (some good, some… less so), but one that is extremely useful to the PR world is a continued need for experts or interesting points of view when a major story breaks. Becoming involved in a breaking news story can be an excellent opportunity to gather wide exposure for your organization and reinforce to the public what it is that you do best. Consider this: every time a reporter calls you an expert, he’ll have to explain why. If the reason is rooted in your work, the resulting publicity can have far-reaching rewards.
But there are always pros and cons. Before delving into the fray, you need to make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Here are four questions to ask yourself.
In a random act of Googling last night, I was searching on PR firms and I stumbled on a bunch of Quora and Google+ discussions where entrepreneurs were asking a simple question: how do I choose a PR firm? The answers to these questions were many, all with the same common theme largely from journalists — you can do PR yourself. Forget the agency. Just get to know the press you need and reach out yourself. This argument is not new to me or to the PR community. But we often just sit back and let journalists air their grievances with PR firms — after all, journalists are our clients too. It will come as no surprise that I am on the other side of this argument in most cases (although not always). But for good reasons.
Last month, as I was trawling Twitter, I experienced one of those moments of truth that often lead to a blog post. “Stop the Madness! Why do we spam the crap out of each other #CRE?” It was an excellent question from @TenantAdvisor. His screenshot (above) showed a whole bunch of emails from the real estate world; no doubt property listings or announcements about recent transactions.
This is especially true in the brokerage community, where deal flow means everything, competition is fierce, and an old-school approach to marketing is pervasive. But when everyone else is doing lead generation the same way, namely by email and even cold calls or printed fliers, it is simply not effective, as I explained in a previous post.
The numbers are astounding: Approximately 4,400 apartment and condominium units are under construction in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville, according to my friend Paul McMorrow, who did the math. But that number is only half of what is in the pipeline in the same geography. From Jackson Square, to Downtown Crossing, the Seaport to Northpoint and Assembly Square, that’s a lot of housing – and it’s a lot to hit the market within a relatively short time period, making the competition for consumer mind-share fierce among developers.
But first, who’s going to live there? Since all of these units are urban, and quite a few will be super-small “micro units,” it’s clear that developers are targeting Millennials, also known as Echo Boomers. There are about 80 million of this cohort in the U.S. Born between 1980 and 1995, they’re the largest population group since the Baby Boomers.
One of my colleagues likes to say that the euphoria one experiences during a highly successful PR launch, is like being a kid on Christmas morning. There are very few things that make us jump up and down with the same enthusiasm as, say, a child who gets a puppy from Santa. But for public relations professionals, a top-tier media hit that delights a client is one of those things. Launching a successful social media campaign is one of those things. Landing a speaking engagement at a key conference is one of those things. Yet as any elf knows, a whole lot of effort goes in to making the holidays bright. Our office equivalent is the strategic planning that goes in to creating success in the year ahead.
Why should people care about your viewpoint? This is the question that PR must answer before embarking on any campaign.
Last week, I had the opportunity to blog about three of the core areas shaping PR for PR Week. The first was thought leadership – it’s more than having a unique point of view. Yes, it must be unique, but it also must be rooted in authority and tie back to your organization’s objectives. As I wrote, “Done properly, thought leadership stimulates demand for companies’ products and services by teaching the industry about what is needed and what the future will require.”
Almost everyone in the commercial real estate sector approaches marketing and PR the same way: collateral materials with buildings bathed in sunshine; interviews with trade journals; market overview presentations over coffee and bagels.
They also issue press releases about deals, which the press rarely cares about unless it is a big one – and even then, writers typically want an exclusive. I was recently having lunch with a reporter who covers commercial real estate and we were discussing this. He animatedly pulled out his Blackberry and showed me an email from that day about a small lease deal from a commercial broker. “Why would anyone bother to send me that?” he asked. Of course, being in PR, I understand that brokers, REITS and developers like to show momentum however they can. And I told the reporter this. But we both agreed that there are more creative ways to do this.
My Facebook feed this week has been buzzing with Chick-fil-A updates. There was the viral letter that Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino wrote to the restaurant chain’s President Dan Cathy saying Chick-fil-A was not welcome to open a store in the city because of its stance against same-sex marriage. And then there were these photos below, posted by different friends; each shows a brand—Sarah Palin and KFC —taking advantage of the media firestorm to get some attention for themselves.
This got me thinking: when is it ok to be opportunistic, piggybacking on an issue in the media? When is it not? And what are the do’s and don’ts?
Do be opportunistic if: