Give Your Client the Loyal Treatment


The harsh reality all PR professionals must face is perfectly stated in this line from a recent edition of the Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat: “the majority of your pitches won’t get a response -” Then, as if offering a tiny glimmer of hope, the sentence continues: “but some will.”

It’s true. We all know media pitching is more of an art than it is science. But what happens when your pitch is a home run, the reporter wants the story…then you have to call a timeout?

It sounds like the unthinkable, but as I recently found out, unthinkable doesn’t mean impossible. Here I was, two days away from an interview I’d set up with a veteran reporter from a widely-read daily. All was well until the reporter’s interest shifted–albeit slightly–away from my original pitch. Great for the reporter, not so great for my company’s brand.

A rock and a hard place is an understatement. Yet it was a real life wake-up call that as a PR professional, I must be diligent in the loyalty I have for my company’s strategic goals; even if it means letting go of a media placement I worked so hard to get.

I like to call it the “loyal treatment.” Not unlike kings and monarchs, treat your company and client like royalty when it comes to protecting their brand and public image. Here are a few more tips to remember.

Know your client’s/company’s intended public brand
Ask your client or company’s senior leaders “What do you want the brand to be?” Also, “What don’t you want it to be?” As times change and companies evolve, answers to these questions will inevitably change, so don’t be afraid to ask more than once. The point is, know what the brand is (or isn’t) so you know not to deviate from it when pitching the media.

It’s ok to tell a reporter “no”
I know it sounds crazy given the sheer difficulty involved in getting a reporter to even acknowledge that you exist (unless you work for Apple or some other big name brand that reporters drool over). But trust me on this. If you suspect the end media placement could compromise the brand in any way, respectfully and tactfully decline. Think about it. The repercussions of making your company or client look bad are far worse than one missed opportunity. Which brings me to my next point…

Put yourself in the shoes of the spokesperson
One of the things I love about our work is that we get to make other people look good. In doing this though, we can easily lose sight of the fact that it’s their face, their words, their reputation that’s on the line; not our own. Now ask yourself, “What if it was me?” This change in perspective can make a world of difference when you consider which media placements to pursue.

Have you ever had to give up a media opportunity to protect your company or client? Share your experience and advice in the comments below.

Andrea Carter is a Public Relations Specialist at AWeber, a certified news junkie and an aspiring world traveler. Check out Andrea’s back story here then follow her on Twitter @SheLuvsPR and connect on LinkedIn at

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Top 5 Things I’ve Learned Moving From Nonprofit to Agency


A few months ago I made the leap from working in a small nonprofit to work in an agency. After almost two years in my first post-college position, I was ready to try new adventures and see how far I could stretch myself in a different environment. In midst of the excitement, I was terrified. I didn’t have a closet full of suits, I didn’t know how to keep time records, nor did I know how to juggle more than one client at a time. I only knew how to take care of one client, the nonprofit. However, underneath the nervousness, I couldn’t wait to begin working with a new team and learn more about my strengths and weaknesses.

Over the last three months, I learned a great deal about what it is to survive the “agency life.” I am still learning and am continually eager to stretch myself and see where my skills can grow. Listed below are the top five things I’ve learned moving from in-house to agency:

1. Be Flexible. Moving from one work environment to another can be a tough transition. From learning new office policies to figuring out how your new coworkers operate, you may become mentally drained in the beginning. However, you should absorb as much as possible from your new environment and remain flexible. If you allow yourself to be open-minded and mentally flexible, you will learn how to efficiently use your time and work alongside of others.

2. Practice Good Time Management. Time management is important in any professional position. Prioritizing work and ensuring all tasks are done in an appropriate timeline is an ideal responsibility for any employee. In an agency setting, I learned that my time is extremely valuable and I need to manage it well to be as effective as possible.

3. Keep Good Time Records. One of the things I was most nervous about was learning how to keep time records. Since I came from a nonprofit, I had no clue how to record my time because I never had to do that before. All I kept thinking was, “How am I going to remember what I did every 15 minutes?” After a week or two, I started to understand how to log my time and keep good records. I learned, very quickly, to write down when I begin and finish each project. That way, I am fairly billing a client for my work, and I can see what I did instead of going off my memory.

4. Be Adaptable. I cannot stress how important it is to understand that your day in an agency is not cookie-cutter. For the first half hour you may be writing a news release for a client, then two minutes later you get an email from another client and you have to drop what you are doing to work on something for them. In the beginning, I would feel pressure when I would be forced to put something I was already working on on-hold, but that went away. In that moment, you have to judge what task is more time sensitive and then manage your time accordingly.

5. Have Fun! I have enjoyed this transition experience. I went from one fun work environment to another. I learned so much about myself already, and I want to keep the momentum going. Transitioning from one position to another can be scary, but you can also allow yourself to have fun at the same time. Get to know your coworkers and laugh every now and then. After all, what good is the new experience if you can’t share it with your coworkers, who are also going through the same transition?

The leap from nonprofit to agency, in hindsight, wasn’t what I thought it would be. I had enough clothes, I learned how to log my time and I have managed several clients at once. Although I have made some mistakes and learned a lot on how to work more efficiently, this experience has been worth every minute.

This post was written by PPRA Recruitment & Retention Chair, Darrah Foster. Darrah is a Senior Associate at Anne Klein Communications Group, where she is a member of account teams serving clients in several industries including healthcare, utilities and financial services. Connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Public Relations Careers 101

One of PPRA’s most anticipated events of the year is quickly approaching, but don’t worry, there is still time to register for Public Relations Careers 101!

April 1, 2014 – 7:00 p.m.

Dave & Buster’s (325 N. Columbus Blvd.)

Open to students and young professionals in the Philadelphia region, this session is your chance to meet and hear from top PR minds working in all areas of the profession. The panelists will share insights into their careers and the realities of working in public relations, as well as tips on how to stand out in this difficult job market. After the panel discussion, you will have the chance to network with public relations professionals during our table networking session.

All pre-registered participants will be entered into our raffle for the chance to win a “networking day” with a PR pro, plus other great prizes! Remember, you must be present to win.

The deadline to register is THIS FRIDAY, March 28.

Panelists Include:

  • Gregg Feistman – Associate Professor of Public Relations, Temple University (Moderator)
  • Hope Koseff Corse – Director of Marketing & Communications, Independence Seaport Museum
  • John Miller – President, Scribewise
  • Cathryn Sanderson – Director of Communication & Corporate Relations, Back On My Feet
  • Lisa Simon – President, Simon PR
  • Meredith Wertz – Manager of Corporate Communication, Comcast