Earlier this month, the Public Relations Alliance from Lasell College visited Greenough Brand Storytellers to gain insight into the world of professional PR. Our agenda consisted of discussions with various team members, each focused on their own area of expertise. Everything from client relations to social media to pitching was covered, providing a great opportunity to learn more about all the moving parts of a PR agency.Read More
It happened: the perfect story for your client ran in one of your target publications, but your client wasn't in it. That’s right – you've been left out. Despite all the networking you do, the relationships you maintain with industry reporters and your constant media outreach, you somehow managed to slip this reporter’s mind when she was drafting her piece.
First of all, don’t beat yourself up. This can and does happen to the best of us: even the most successful PR pro doesn't bat 1,000. No matter how good you are, at some point in your career you’ll lose an article that should have been yours - and when it happens to you, you’ll go through the classic 7 stages of grief. Here’s how to deal with each of them:
Finish reading the article and take a few deep breaths. Maybe walk a couple laps around the office to process the terrible injustice unfortunate fact that this reporter didn’t think to include your client. Give yourself a few moments to get over the shock before moving on.
Maybe your client WAS mentioned and you just missed it on the first read. It’s possible, but try to suppress the desire check the article over and over. Here are several places that it’s almost certainly NOT hiding:
- On the fold of the newspaper
- Copied onto some rogue Silly Putty
- On a section of the website that didn’t load properly
- On a “deep web” section of the website
- On an insert that fell from the magazine
- On a fragrance sample that fell from the magazine
No use denying it: it’s not there.
You’re right – it IS completely outrageous to write an article on that industry without including your client’s perspective. How could anyone think that’s a good idea? How could the reporter do this to YOU?
Although it may feel like it, remember that this omission wasn’t personal – reporters, like everyone else, are subject to a broad range of professional pressures that affect what they produce. It’s totally possible that the omission of your client was out of the reporter’s control.
Resist the urge to promise the PR gods that you’ll never send a pitch using mail merge EVER AGAIN if they’ll just make the reporter revise the online version – though cathartic, it’s unlikely to have a meaningful impact on your success. Instead, focus on concrete things you can do to make your relationship with the reporter stronger and ensure you’re included their next article.
It’s OK to indulge in the other steps for a bit, but just don’t go there with this one. In PR, like in life in general, there’s always something that can knock you off your horse if you let it – don’t let this do that to you.
You need to look at this omission as an opportunity for growth. That means pulling yourself together, meeting with your team and starting to brainstorm some solutions.
Now it’s time for things to start looking up. Talk with your team about realistic actions you can take to respond. Start with reaching out to the reporter - if you already have a strong relationship, she should be willing to explain what happened and why you got left out.
If you don’t know the reporter so well or haven’t talked to her in a while, this is the perfect chance to get your client on her radar. Think of an inflection point where your client could have fit into her story. Then, give the reporter a quick call (or email, or tweet) to share how much you enjoyed her article and explain what your client could add to any future discussion of the topic.
Remember, this happens to the best of us. Accept that you were omitted and think about what you can learn from it. What defines successful people in this business isn't getting omitted or not, but how they respond to it.
By clearing away negative emotions, tweaking strategy and communicating effectively, effective PR pros turn omissions into opportunities. Work through your loss and make sure that your reaction includes a clear strategy for ensuring it doesn't happen again. Finally, communicate that strategy to your client so they know it’s under control!
Have you grieved the loss of the article that got away? Any tips for dealing with it constructively? Let us know in the comments!
Contributed by Greenough Media Team members Andrea LePain (@alepain), Karen Laverty (@LavertyKaren), Christine Williamson (@ChristineDBW), Rachel Vaccari (@Rachel_Vaccari), Lucy Muscarella (@LucyMuscarella) and Caitlin Cimino (@caitlin_cimino).
Storytelling is the most common and memorable form of communication. In its simplest form, storytelling allows us to share experiences and create emotional connections. Today, many businesses claim that they’re storytellers, but few truly understand the art (and science) of storytelling. We’re fascinated with the science of storytelling, so much so that we’ve studied it for years. In our “2012 Prevailing Storylines Study,” we ranked the ten prevailing narratives that appear regularly in mainstream business media. But that wasn’t enough, so in our most recent study of industry-specific media, we trained our eyes on journalists covering mobile technology, IT security and healthcare/ healthcare IT, to look for patterns and potential differences.
The 2013 Prevailing Storylines Study looked at nearly 1,500 articles across 30 business and trade publications spread across three core markets: mobile technology, IT security and healthcare IT/healthcare. The study not only confirmed the prevalence of the ten recurring storylines/narratives, but also showed that certain narratives do indeed appear with regularity in each industry. Within media coverage of mobile technology, for example, “Things Not What They Seem” appeared most frequently. In coverage of IT security, on the other hand, “Recipe for Success” appeared more often, while in healthcare/healthcare IT the most common storyline was “New Kid on the Block.”
What this research showed us is that the science of storytelling is even more nuanced than we thought. In other words, there are enough noticeable differences at the industry level to recommend unique approaches to storytelling in these markets. And, if companies understand what narratives resonate most within their industry and within the media, they can better position themselves for continued growth and success.
Phil Greenough, CEO of Greenough
Every year at Greenough, we recruit students interested in the communication and marketing fields to spend their summer learning the PR trade. This year we hosted six interns from all over New England and the U.S. The following students make up the Greenough summer intern class of 2013: Charles Hoang, Boston College ’14; Jillian Rosa, Boston College ’14; Caitlin Cimino, Connecticut College ’14; Rebecca Giller, University of South Carolina ’14; Hillary Throckmorton, Bates ’15; and Hallie Loft, Hamilton College ’15. As account supervisor and intern coordinator, I had the pleasure of sitting down with one of our interns, Hallie Loft, to talk about her career ambitions, school and PR intern experience.
Q&A with Hallie Loft, Greenough Summer Intern
JB: Why did you want to intern at Greenough?
HL: I was first drawn to Greenough because of its unique approach to communicating ideas. As I was researching firms and possible summer internships, I got stuck on Greenough's idea of "brand storytelling." I had never considered a career in PR before, but as I looked more into Greenough's mission, I got hooked! Looking at campaigns through the lens of a storyteller really appealed to the writer in me.
JB: Where do you go to school? What are you studying?
HL: Currently, I am a rising junior at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. I am an English Literature major and an Art History minor. I absolutely love it there; the campus has come to feel more like home than anywhere else. And, I can thank Hamilton for instilling in me a love of writing that has guided me towards a career in communications.
JB: What career are you pursuing? Why?
HL: So far, this internship has been an amazing experience, and I've learned a lot about which work environments suit me best, as well as how I can put my individual talents to use after I graduate. To put it simply, I am very excited about pursuing a career in PR! Through this career, I will be able to promote things that are important to me. In my opinion, fighting for ideas and communicating those ideas to the public is extremely honorable.
JB: What are three interesting things about you?
1. I run XC and track at school, and my favorite event is the 10k
2. This year, I plan to study abroad in Australia
3. On the weekends I sell vegan ice cream at farmer's markets
JB: What quote do you live by? Why?
HL: "To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift." -Steve Prefontaine
This quote is a constant reminder that we are lucky to be alive and that we should not take this for granted by living a mediocre life. Laziness is something that has never been a part of my repertoire. And, in the past 20 or so years, I’ve learned that hard work and dedication truly does pay off.
Contributed by Account Supervisor and Intern Coordinator, Jessica Boardman. Follow her on Twitter: @J_Boarmdan