We all like to think that we’re good at what we do – but what does a quality PR practitioner really look like and how do our clients and the media assess our work?
This question is constantly on the lips of communications professionals, and particularly those working within a competitive agency environment where the standard of work being produced is key.
Since joining spottydog just a matter of days ago messages around the quality of work that the agency produces have been repeated to me on numerous occasions with considerable gusto. The team say they provide ‘best of breed’ communications – a wonderful tagline – and when you get beyond the glass-fronted exterior of the Birmingham office it is clear that they are truly dedicated to living out that vision.
This is important because when your work is being placed in front of thousands of eyes any inadequacies can have a substantial, negative impact on a brand.
By and large a quality pr product will vary depending on what you’re trying to achieve. I recall working with an editor on a national newspaper early in my career who, if you’ll allow me to demonstrate his impeccable attention to detail, felt it was lazy to leave an ‘and’ at the end of a line of text. The copy before, he insisted, should be filled out with additional words to ensure the offending conjunction was knocked down away from prominence onto the line below.
Thankfully most work is not subject to this level of intense scrutiny, but in the world of PR and communications we face our own challenges every day to ensure the work we produce provides a suitable representation of a brand.
Having worked on both sides of the fence, I have found that journalists can be incredibly picky, and often overly critical, about the quality of the work they receive from PRs. This is equally true in both the B2B and B2C arenas – and it’s important that communications professionals understand that a quality piece of work looks subtly different for each individual purpose.
Understanding your audience, and by extension exactly what a reporter needs from a story, is key. There can be multiple ways to hit this goal – whether by understanding the news agenda, giving them an ace, attention-grabbing top line, or getting down to the nitty gritty with an excellent understanding of a technical topic that provides real interest for their readers.
The best PR and communications professionals are able to understand precisely what is required and deliver a piece of work that delights both clients and journalists by incorporating key messages into a piece of work that is in keeping with the news agenda and suitable for publication.
Thankfully it would appear that in joining spottydog I have been given the opportunity to work with a group of pedigree people who have this down to a tee.