AHA Creative Strategies is a public relations agency. We’re communicators. We’re social media participants. We’re brand journalists. We use video, video news releases, b-roll, podcasts, photography, articles, news releases, media and blogger pitches, news conferences, media tours, speaking tours, speeches, special events, trade shows, community meetings, annual reports, newsletters and so much more to assist our clients in communicating with their stakeholder groups. (Notice I said “with” – not “to” – that’s very important.) We are in the business of informing, educating and creating conversation. As importantly, we’re in the business of listening and responding.
I mentioned in Monday’s blog post that I would focus on some of the tools we, at AHA, provide to clients and why they are of value. I think before I do that, I should take a step back and define what good public relations is – to us. (I don’t want this blog post to be too long, so next Wednesday I will focus on the specific tactics. Although, I have to warn you, I got a bit carried away – today’s post is a little long!)
Good public relations is working in partnership with clients. Even when it is challenging, we tell them what they need to hear – rather than just take orders and deliver what they want us to. We identify what they need (which isn’t always the same) and we approach what we do with optimistic realism. Timelines, deadlines, client resources and budgets also have to be taken into consideration.
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We have regular production meetings at AHA and during today’s briefing, it hit me that public relations is a different profession today than it was even a year ago. Technology, specifically online technology, has changed how we do our job.
At AHA, we have always approached the publicity and media relations component of what we do much as a media outlet would. We have regular story meetings, we hold our ideas up to scrutiny and we review each pitch through the eyes of the specific journalist and media outlet that we are approaching. We have a focus on acting (as much as possible) like a newsroom would when it comes to clearly identifying the news value and the heart of the story before we take it to media.
The Idea Grove, a Dallas-based PR agency has released an assessment quiz designed to help corporate communicators determine whether their PR agency is doing a good job for them. It’s worth a read – for both clients and those of us in agencies.
We circulated the link here at AHA and I think I might frame it and put it up over my desk. This quiz has great questions that anyone working with an agency should ask themselves and that agencies should review to make sure that they are excelling.