Founder and CEO of JMG Public Relations, an award winning PR firm for innovators and their mission driven startup companies.
The very core of a publicist’s work is relationship building. That may sound like it should be a given for all aspects of business, but what I’ve discovered over the years working in the industry is that both media people and clients feel like the interaction is more like a cold transaction versus a cultivated relationship.
Connecting With The Client
Getting to know someone on a personal level allows the opportunity to dig a little deeper and really get to know who you’re working with, humanizing the interaction. Beyond learning names, find out their goals, their challenges and what they are passionate about; it all comes down to establishing that one-on-one interaction.
In turn, clients want to also connect with you, the professional. It’s important for them to be able to relate to the people who are committed to growing their company and/or brand. They’ve placed their trust in you to elevate them within their respective industry. By humanizing the relationship, clients will value and trust you beyond just the work being performed. Feeling connected and being part of the “family” is important to clients. They are essentially placing their company’s future in your hands, and it’s then up to you to nurture and grow that into a long-lasting partnership. As a PR professional, whenever you take on a new client, commit to achieving “their” goals. Investing in “their” success will, in turn, ensure yours. As close, interpersonal relationships are formed, it also brings about loyalty.
Connecting With Customers
When it comes to humanizing a brand, it can be a more challenging task for the sheer fact that you are working to breathe life into an innate object — not impossible, just entails a bit more strategic planning. The goal of working with a PR firm is to turn the client, whether it be an individual or a company, into a household name or go-to source in their respective industry. How you create this level of notoriety is through a specific and targeted strategy. If you want to engage people, you need a fresh and engaging strategy, as well as one that’s relevant to your target audience. Relevant and informational content shared on a consistent basis allows brands to connect with a wider audience and gain a loyal following. Now more than ever, consumers are looking to make genuine connections, with both the brands that they love as well as the people behind those brands who share similar interests.
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Social media is a powerful tool in a media professional’s toolbox for multiple reasons. Not only can you share content, whether it’s a long-form article or a short tweet, but you can also reach a very broad audience. If you want to connect people to a brand, the strategic use of humor is another way in which to marry the two. How do you do that? You share with an audience a certain characteristic and employ a sense of humor that connects with the target market. Social media networks are also a great way to leverage a company’s community and create that human connection with an audience. Sometimes businesses struggle when it comes to connecting with people outside of their respective industries. Instead of being “all business, all of the time,” find different ways to spice up a client’s platform rather than just cranking out business-related content as the only way to showcase their personality.
Why not share stories from employees or company events? Let it be something that gives the consumer a sense of connection; it can make a big difference when it comes to connecting them to the brands. While the clients are the ones planning out the best ways to deliver superior services to their customers, PR executives are doing the same. Anticipating a client’s needs, appealing to their senses and giving them choices are some ways you can deliver your best customer service in a human way.
Connecting With Employees
Providing that human touch is made possible by the employees; they are the most valuable assets in any PR organization. Without them, a company cannot innovate, grow or evolve. It’s important to always be on top of the human experience within the workplace. Executives must lead by example and promote an environment that encourages employees to talk openly and honestly while at the same time actively listen to what others have to say. Hear what is being said, acknowledge and validate the perspective of your team and respond with a thoughtful and supportive remark.
Think outside the box, whether it is with education or training, and make these experiences enjoyable. Stepping away from the norm, being creative and infusing some fun can encourage employees to utilize the same tactics when strategizing actionable plans for their clients. If employees enjoy going to work every day, then they’ll deliver great work. That “work” can be in the form of pitches sent to media as well as the quality of the content they provide. The “work” also relates to the clients themselves; at the end of the day, they want to see results. So if an employee is happy and producing great results, then a client can be equally as happy.
Connecting With The Media
Humanizing the relationships you have with the media is as equally important as the ones set forth with both clients and employees. The media is your lifeline in helping elevate your client’s profile, and without them, the job of any PR professional would be next to impossible. By nurturing these relationships, you’re also putting yourself at the forefront of their minds. Next time they need a quote or an expert source, they’ll seek you (and your client) out first before turning elsewhere for expert sources.
Investing in people is investing in success. It is an ongoing effort, one that should not be taken on just to get a quick boost. Humanizing the connection among clients, customers, employees and the media requires patience, persistence and a passion for PR.