Putting the “Relations” in Public Relations, Regardless of Industry

Photo Credit: Jimmyroq's photostream on Flickr

By Danielle Mancano

Regardless of industry, PR is an incredibly important business function.  Whether the core audience is an enterprise, government agency or consumer, it is the PR professional’s responsibility to understand what the target audience wants, what will motivate the audience to perform a desired action, and what tactics and tools are needed to make this happen.

It’s important to remember this golden rule while working on both consumer and business-to-business PR campaigns.

During my first five years as a PR professional, I worked solely on business-to-business IT accounts.  My first few months were spent fumbling over tech jargon and acronyms, convinced I’d never sound smart enough to pitch a reporter.  I dedicated so much time to learning the technology that I lost sight of the true audience—people.

You can talk BI SaaS and MDM until the cows come home, but what is the benefit for the people using the product or service?  While your client’s product is intended for enterprise use, what is making that IT administrator or business professional say, “That would make my life so much easier, simpler, better”?

Don’t get caught up in what proof points the marketing department or engineers want to hype.  If it doesn’t make sense to you, it surely won’t make much sense to reporters and more importantly, potential buyers.

Understanding human behavior and motivation in the technology industry made the transition to my agency’s consumer practice much smoother.  I’ve worked on the consumer team for nearly six months.  Now, instead of asking myself what would make me purchase this technology if I were a CIO, I can now ask, “What would make me buy this as—well—ME!”

The challenge with consumer public relations is the competition.  I am no longer touting a piece of software to retail companies, for example.  My clients’ products and services are meant for nearly everyone.

When I pitch a women’s magazine on behalf of my clients, I am competing with apparel companies, cosmetics, new Web sites, gadgets, restaurants and more.

How do I break through the noise and make my clients stand out among the rest?  I remember the reporter is human and so are her readers.

No matter what industry you or your clients are in, or how busy your day gets, don’t ever lose that human connection.  It will be the longstanding foundation to your PR career.

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