Persistence. Throughout our lives we are constantly told to be persistent and not to give up. Merriam-Webster has some great definitions of this word:
- Existing for a long or longer than usual time or continuously
- Retained beyond the usual period, such as a persistent left
- Continuing without change in function or structure, such as persistent gills
- Effective in the open for an appreciable time usually through slow volatilizing—mustard gas is persistent
- Continuing or inclined to persist in a course
The definition that relates to public relations the most is probably the last one, continuing to persist along a given course.
Personally, I believe that public relations is all about being politely persistent. Being polite can go a long way, but let’s be real, politeness has at times become a thing of the past. Publicists get the bad rap of being rude and doing whatever it takes to get the coverage they want. Yes, our goal is get coverage for a client, but being rude is all ego. Journalists, just like publicists, are human beings. And guess what, we all like to be treated with kindness.
It should never be assumed that a journalist will cover you or a client. Every email, tweet, text, or call we make is a consideration. After all, public relations is earned media. Before you hit send, take a minute and reflect on why you deserve this coverage? What is the story you have to tell?
If you are rude or your actions are coming close to stalking, the journalist has every right not to include you in their piece. All of a sudden you have made it personal. The person that really loses in this situation is the company that did not get included in the piece.
Be polite and then be persistent. Sometimes an email does fall through the cracks of the internet, following up is not a crime. Take it easy when your follow up turns into daily emails, texts and phone calls about including your client or brand in an article.
Instead, develop a follow-up plan that will help foster relationships and not deter them from flourishing.
Persistently herding cats. This probably is the best way to describe what PR professionals do on a daily basis. These three little words can describe our relationship with both clients and the media.
It is our job to communicate what our clients have going on to the media, but our clients are running their businesses and everything that goes with that, and the media, they are receiving hundreds, if not thousands of emails a day from PR professionals and businesses.
Sometimes it does feel like we are that nagging mother or aunt asking about when are you getting married or having children. But our intentions for our persistent emails, texts, calls and overall over-communicating is that we want the media to cover our clients. We don’t want a single client to miss an opportunity to gain awareness about all the kicka** sh*t they are doing.
Our persistence is out of love and desire to both clients and the media we work with. We want our clients to grow and take over the world and we want our media contacts to have all the best information to tell some killer stories.
Persistence is key for business, not matter which side you are on.