This year has given us many unexpected surprises. These surprises have caused major shifts in the way we live, the way we work, and the way we communicate. Through these trying times we have learned new things – like use virtual meeting software, how to make bread and cut our own hair (not recommended).
We thought it would be valuable to hear what “surprising thing” PR experts in the HITMC Community have learned recently. Here’s what they said:
- “Even the smallest companies can ride a massive wave of public interest if they have something interesting to say.” – Scott Collins
- “That we’ve been asked to secure more local media exposure.” – Beth Friedman
- “That PR practitioners are banding together to support each other’s success towards this by sharing best practices with one another.” – Nicole Brooks
- “People in PR and journalism really do care and want to help” – Davida Dinerman
- “It’s important not to waste a journalist’s time.” – Tom Keppeler
- “I’ve seen repeatedly that successful PR actually requires multiple perspectives.” – Chintan Shah
- “How important it is to have a well-planned PR strategy.” – Tania (DiVito) Rai
- “That some people still see PR and Marketing as their own things and never the two shall meet.” – Regan Wynne
Scott Collins, President & CEO of Aria Marketing
Even the smallest companies can ride a massive wave of public interest if they have something interesting to say, and they can ride that wave all the way to the biggest media they would rarely have had a shot at in the past.
Beth Friedman, Founder & CEO at Agency Ten22
Agency Ten22 is an expert at public relations within the healthcare IT industry—the healthcare trade. As such, we hadn’t been asked to secure local media exposure for our clients. Until now.
Two of our clients requested local media exposure once the COVID-19 pandemic hit. We quickly partnered with The Stryker-Munley Group to achieve our clients’ goals. I was surprised how rapidly we were able to secure local media coverage in partnership with SMG news experts. And then not surprised to see how strong media relationships also yield results with television broadcast teams and local news anchors.
Surprises and reminders. We’ve seen both in the last six months.
Nicole Brooks, PR Consultant & Vice President at Innsena Communications
We’ve been proud that our clients understand the value of integrated communications, even in times of crisis—when often marketing and PR is the first to get cut. What our industry does is critical to our clients’ success in both the short- and long-term. We’re able to support them by providing storytelling opportunities that are either consistent with pre-pandemic times or that pivot smoothly in light of the healthcare crisis. And I’m surprised that so many PR practitioners are banding together to support each other’s success towards this by sharing best practices with one another (like in the HITMC virtual conferences!).
Davida Dinerman, Director of Media & Influencer Relations at Look Left Marketing
Maybe it’s not as much about being surprised as pleased to see that people in PR and journalism really do care and want to help. A crisis is about saving people. The messages reflected that. And we all set a human, thoughtful and concerned tone.
Tom Keppeler, Director of Communications at InterSystems
The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a very bright light on how important it is not to waste a journalist’s time. Every PR professional believes he or she has the brightest, most perfect shining example of a story about the novel coronavirus; however, the key is to do the hard work of putting together a fully packaged story fit for consumption – not a press release. Journalists are busier than they’ve ever been assembling the first draft of history about this pandemic – now, more than ever, it’s key not to waste their time.
Chintan Shah, Principal at KNB Communications
The perception exists that PR means a focus on the now, the present situation and all of the circumstances that make it up. However, in the last six months, I’ve seen repeatedly that successful PR actually requires multiple perspectives: post-mortem of the past, analysis of the present and prediction of the future. You must be able to show that you understand what has happened, are vigilant and aware of what is happening and have the foresight and intuition to predict what may happen next. Successfully navigating these three perspectives opens tremendous opportunities for opinion, content, credibility and most importantly–compelling stories.
Tania (DiVito) Rai, Corporate Communications Manager at PointClickCare
Over the last six months, I’ve recognized how important it is to have a well-planned PR strategy. In the wake of COVID-19, many brands have had to pivot their PR plans and having a robust strategy place has proven to be effective.
Regan Wynne, Sr Director of Brand Marketing & Communications at TigerConnect
The biggest surprise I have learned about PR over the last 6 months is that some people still see PR and Marketing as their own things and never the two shall meet. Maybe it’s because I came up through the agency side, then in-house at start-ups and smaller companies where we had to wear multiple hats, but it seemed to me very early on in my career that the two were on a direct path to converging. What started with highly produced content like Corporate videos, EPKs, and VNRs created by the comms team has morphed into internal marketing and communications teams that are in-house media companies. PR professionals that specialized in one area of expertise are now faced with the challenge of having to hit metrics that are more marketing-focused such as leads created vs traditional PR ones like pickups or impressions. And it’s not just the in-house teams. PR firms are merging with marketing firms to create Integrated Marketing agencies that can bolster all aspects of your marketing and communications regardless of channel.