A question came up in the Small-PR Firm group at Yahoo, about whether and how to best leverage the fact that you got a new client. Some comments said it’s OK to do so, while others indicated they had concerns about doing so. Here’s my opinion on the ethics of doing so and the proper and best way to leverage one’s PR achievements.
We are in the business of doing PR for clients and ethically, how they do their marketing is critical and sensitive business intelligence that we do not have the right to share freely. I feel that the very fact they have hired a PR firm or specialist is a privileged piece of marketing information and it is very poor professional conduct to share that without client permission to other people in the industry.
The release of this type of contracting information can be damaging to the client no matter what type of publicist or professional service provider you are. The client gets hurt because you may be good or you may be not so good. Either way, the competition gets to know what your client is doing and can counter that move in the marketplace.
You can get hurt if you promote the client if: 1. They don’t want you to and they get upset if you do; and 2. If you then fail to produce the expected PR performance. Either way, your reputation is tarnished with the client, and possibly in the marketplace if it gets out that you can’t be trusted. You won’t get referrals this way.
That said, the publicity achievements we get for the client are fair game. That information is far better to use in our PR promotions anyway, since it reveals and showcases the ROI we are capable of.
You can share PR achievements in lots of highly visual, colorful and impressive ways:
* Using a series of links to media posts, clips, or audio clips in an email (four or five links to top media with client names or project or news release headlines)
* Take photos of the paper coverage or of the best moments in a TV clips.
* Post ongoing PR successes each day to a “Clients in the News” page on your web site or a similar dedicated Facebook page with photo imagery and links each time you get something noteworthy. You can just send the FB link to prospective clients. You can place a link on your web page that goes here too.
* Do the same on a blog. Post the achievements and tell PR success stories with photos and links. Make these posts keyword rich and it will improve your search engine placement.
* Create a Portfolio or Experience page on your web site, and place the Portfolio button on your navigation bar so people can see it. Get your programmer to create a web form that allows to add posts with photos and dates. Over time these client lists can get lengthy and will be quite impressive.
. Create Slide shows from Powerpoint presentations and even Word docs showing the PR success visually. Then turn these into videos you can post or send. This is the type of “Project” you can post to LinkedIn. You can also post them on your website and use them in all your other marketing communications.
. You can use prior performance and your creative works to build and formalize your own referral network. Every now and then, you contact your clients and ask them to celebrate you or something you have done, you’ve created, or are doing. This way, you create something superbly helpful and you ask your clients to give it to people who might benefit from the type of problem solving answer you have offered.
I highly recommend you just forget about posting news releases about your own company to the online news release distribution services. With the Google algorithm changes, the only media coverage that really counts is “earned media” with truly educational and helpful content. You can read all about this here:
http://blog.directcontactpr.com/2013/09/google-changes-to-the-world-of-news-release-distribution/ or http://goo.gl/rf8yLQ
You want to use the very same tactics we use for clients to improve and enhance your own professional branding. Write problem articles, get them published or posted on industry sites. Write a regular book even a series of mini-books and use them as calling cards to get clients to know you are the best. Every time a client asks a technical question, create a really good answer. Save these Q & A’s and build up an arsenal of them. Post them to your blog and again, turn them into a multitude of useful marcom and use them in all the prospect interactions you have appropriately.
Hope this helps.