Relationships are more important than ever

As a culture and as a profession (PR and media alike), we’ve spent the better part of the last decade running, running, running ourselves ragged, assimilating a firehose of new technology, feeling frazzled and exhausted and occasionally exhilarated, but always relentlessly moving. Now, however, the world is seemingly grinding to a tense and uncertain halt, and no one seems to know what to do about all of this standing still.

These days, we feel an incredible amount of stress. Those who have lost employment or who are underemployed are stressed for obvious reasons. Those who are employed are stressed because they’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop squarely on them.

One rare good thing about all of this (please indulge my desire to foment optimism here) is that we’ve slowed down a bit. For example, I’m going to a trade show tomorrow and, for once, I have an entirely manageable schedule. The press list was small enough that I crafted a well-researched, personalized pitch about my client for every relevant media person. At the show, I plan on facilitating productive appointments for my client, getting first-hand knowledge of some of its new products, and then having some time left over to scout around for last-minute additions to the press corps, to plant some seeds for new business, to see what my client’s competition is showing. Maybe I’ll even eat lunch! Imagine that.

Back to my main point: This is a good time to get to know the people who cover your clients, both people you’ve never met and people with whom you’ve worked in the past. I’ve had some great chats with media people on, of all places, Facebook lately. It’s starting to replace e-mail for how I communicate with some of my key contacts.

I guess my overall point is… If you’re lucky enough to still be employed right now, get back to basics and focus on the fundamentals. And in the PR profession’s case, that means connecting with people to get your client’s message through… and to make some new friends.

Posted by Joe Paone (find me on Facebook)


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