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Breaking out of the norm

To bastardize a famous line, “I have met the enemy, and he is the status quo.”

Whether you work for a PR agency or within an organization, the quest for efficiency doesn’t necessarily raise the bar when it comes to actual results.

Here are three thoughts for pushing out of the comfort zone and generating greater results in 2014 –

1.  Every company or client wants to land in business publications. If you were to analyze the content of a Bloomberg Businessweek or Fortune or even The Economist, you’d find that hard news triggers less than 50 percent of the stories in a given issue. The rest comes from trends, personalities, market battles, predictions, issues and the Kardashians.

But many in PR are still wed to trying to crack these heavyweight publications with a news announcement when the bigger opportunity lies in developing one-off stories that play at the industry level. The typical PR person doesn’t even allocate 20 percent of his or her media relations time to non-news stories. This is the equivalent of trying to propel a canoe with one paddle.

2.  It’s still early days, but it’s worth keeping an eye on what I’ve come to call native PR. Unlike native advertising, these are opportunities to publish a narrative on a third-party media platform at no cost. The BuzzFeed community is the best example of this. You can see how it plays out with our Endicia account team’s “9 Reasons Why You Should Shop Online This Holiday Season.” More than just the reach it achieves, I’m a fan of this activity because it hones PR’s storytelling chops. I think we’re going to see more native PR opportunities as more publications embrace community building, with WIRED serving as Exhibit A.

3. As media properties have reinvented themselves to make the economics work, they have greater dependence on freelancers. Yet, many consider freelance journalists as second-class citizens when they deserve the same treatment as staff writers. In fact, one could make an argument for spending more time with freelance journalists since they’re NOT getting crushed with pitches and tend to be more open to input from PR. One easy first step – start building a database of freelance journalists from the requests that come through HARO and ProfNet.

Good luck with your 2014 campaigns.




  • Dan Holden

    Think like a teacher who wants to educate by engaging. You have to communicate at the level of your audience. That means understanding their likes and interests and how what you do fits into their world view. Also, be sure to transfer the passion, this is key to enabling your audience to make it their own.

    • hoffman

      Great stuff Dan. It comes down to communication from an empathetic perch which can be struggle for many organizations.

  • Frank Strong

    Is there an exchange of payment in native PR?


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