By Nicole Rodrigues, CEO and founder of NRPR Group.
Those of us veteran public relations professionals often preach to our teams the importance of following up on any leads or communication to help secure stories and earn media. One thing that is often overlooked, however, is the importance of the follow through. In our industry, I believe the follow through is actually what gets things done, earns trust and respect, and builds our businesses. At NRPR Group, one of the main factors that has contributed to our rapid success is not only the efficient systems and best practices we have in place, but the fact that we work with integrity, keep our word and follow through when we say we’re going to do something. We’ve seen firsthand how deeply this additional step can impact our media relations results and the kind of stories we’re able to tell for our clients. Because I believe in sharing the wealth with all PR pros, I’m happy to share three key facets to always put in practice with regards to follow throughs in this field:
- Follow Through With Colleagues
No matter where you live, work and travel to, we operate in a deadline-driven society. Time is money. Time is everything. At NRPR Group, we’ve set certain protocols and internal deadlines within our company to ensure we can meet clients’ deadlines and exceed their expectations. To do this, we must really work together as a team. Following through for your teammates is the first step to a job well done. If you say you are going to take the lead or start something, it is important to do so not only in a timely manner, but also to the best of your abilities. It’s easy to spot when something is done halfway or quickly. However, if someone genuinely tries – spends the extra time to do their research and strengthen their work – you can see it. This internal effort and accountability builds a relationship of respect and gratitude for your colleagues, who you can be confident are doing their work to strengthen the team. There is a mutual affinity that springs from this practice, along with a shared inspiration to return the favor and elevate the workplace culture. Additionally, from a management perspective, knowing all work has been completed to the best of each employee’s ability through true teamwork provides a clear indication of where leaders can come in to teach and grow the team.
- Follow Through With Clients
We look at ourselves as extensions of our clients’ teams. We are not some separate entity. When we come on board, we want them to feel as though we are sitting in with them every day, learning and understanding their business and goals. If we tell them we are going to pitch media a certain way, share things on social media, build reports or calendars and seek out opportunities that will accelerate their growth, we do it. Following through for our clients helps them trust that they’re in good hands and builds the relationships between our two teams. It creates a transparent and seamless process that ultimately proves more symbiotic and successful than when PR is done separately in a vacuum. This practice is one of the reasons had very happy clients, year-over-year. We’ve set clear and meaningful expectations, remained dedicated, communicated honestly and followed through on our promises. We put our energy not only into securing media hits, but also into making our clients feel comfortable and cared for. That’s really all they ask for, as many PR agencies overlook this important aspect of our business.
- Follow Through With Media
Simply put: without the media, we do not have jobs. Our job, then, is to make sure we are working closely with members of the media – that we are giving them great story ideas and access to executives when they need commentary, all in a timely manner. If we send them a pitch with a bunch of broken promises, we set them up for failure. Again, trust and respect are at stake here. No follow through equals no relationship, and relationships are the foundation of our work. There may come a time when you have to man up and honestly say, “We thought we were going to have this story, but we can actually offer you this now instead…” Don’t be afraid to admit when something shifts. This industry is a moving target, and the media knows this better than anyone. But never drop the ball or leave them hanging. Our job is to find a way to follow through with getting them the resources and information that can help them write the story. Period. Keeping this in mind has helped us build real relationships with the media that pays off well for our clients in the end.
From a PR perspective, we’ve seen how applying these three follow-throughs to our business practices have enhanced our brand and built both respect and loyalty for it. Now, that doesn’t mean we haven’t missed a deadline here or there, or that there wasn’t an initiative we weren’t able to complete for some unforeseen reason. After all, we are all only human. But it does mean that we do our due diligence to complete everything possible in the proper timeframe. Remember, just because you pitched one person in the media one time doesn’t mean you’ve tried. It just means you’ve started. You haven’t truly followed through until you have literally exhausted your resources while trying to make it happen. If you believe in your pitch, your client and your story, you’ll follow through until it gets told.
Nicole Rodrigues is CEO and founder of NRPR Group. She’s a seasoned publicist and social media marketing pro with 16 years of experience under her belt, and has developed and executed strategic campaigns for some of the biggest names in business such as Yahoo, Dolby, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Hulu.