Earlier this week, I was scrolling through my Twitter feed hoping I’d come across a link to the latest public relations news that would spark a stroke of genius in me to write an awe-inspiring blog post. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much luck on the genius front, but what I did notice was my Twitter feed was filled with tweet after tweet of foodie news and comments. This could be because I have a severe obsession with food – I have been known to be one of the biggest eaters in the office. My colleagues even had to buy me a traffic cone to stop me from always going to the kitchen; true story.
But, what does food have to do with PR? Well, it turns out a lot in my case. The real reason my Twitter feed screamed lunch time is because I work for a client in the food industry. Which means I need to live and breathe everything food. It’s a tough gig.
What I’m trying to get at here is emphasizing the importance of not just understanding PR, but deeply understanding your client’s industry. When you sign up to become a PR professional, you’re agreeing to learn a lot more than just that field alone. A few reasons why in my mind it’s so crucial to know the ins and outs of your client’s industry:
Speak the Language. You can’t fake authenticity. As PR professionals, we’re constantly creating messaging on behalf of our clients. Whether it’s in the form of a tweet, Facebook post, press release or a pitch email, we’re speaking as the experts to an audience filled with our client’s competitors, peers and customers. To reach these audiences successfully, we need to be able to talk the talk.
Be Experts. Our clients expect us to be the PR experts. That’s why they hire us. But, what makes our work stand above any other agency out there? It comes down to being a true partner and providing the best possible council. This is accomplished by caring just as much about your client’s brand and industry as they do. This is key to gaining their trust to handle crucial projects.
Know the Key Players. Knowing your client’s industry also means you know all of the big names in that circle. Whether it’s industry influencers, trade media or bloggers, you need to know who these people are and what they’re saying. Their conversations not only indicate current and future trends, but knowing this information will help you better communicate with them and ultimately garner relationships and coverage for your client.
Understand what’s Relevant. How can you ever get a journalist to respond to your pitch email if you’re talking about old news? You have to fully understand what’s cutting-edge in the industry and likewise in your client’s business. This ensures your pitches are relevant, intriguing and are going to say something different than the hundreds of other pitch emails the reporter receives that day.
If you hadn’t figured it out already, you need to love more than just PR to be successful at it. You need to be as involved and passionate about your client’s business and industry as much as they are…if not more. So, pick the industry you enter into wisely, because you’ll be spending a lot of time with it. Another reason I’m pretty darn happy I’m spending my time with food!