I love the pitch process because it allows me to hone and calibrate the services we’re offering to our clients. It’s easy to become stale when you find a process that works, a way of “doing” that delivers results. It’s easy to become lulled into a sense of “good enough” because you see something that is working. The pitch pulls you out of that place and demands you take a fresh look.
An honest agency leader will tell you that to innovate processes and strategies is hard. When you have an idea that works, you want to maximize its potential and enjoy the newfound efficiency, but even the best process or strategy must evolve. Often, innovation is stimulated by a novel need that pushes us outside the comfort zone and into a new space to reach a new market or changing audience.
Recently, I was rethinking/reworking/innovating our strategic PR services as part of a pitch. I was throwing around phrases like “influence thought” and “authentically engage,” which I realize on their own are not innovative, but I thought I was on to something. Then, my senior copywriter stopped me and said,
“Some brands may love your idea of influencing thought, but it’s so passive. A strategic PR program needs to create motion, action, movement.”
You can see why we hired her. She’s right.
Strategies and processes are of little value if they miss what we consider to be two critical marks:
- Does the content persuade the target audience to act?
- Was this accomplished through an understanding of the audience in a way that builds an authentic connection?
Getting ink should not be the sole goal of a PR program.
Getting ink to the right people and moving those people to act is the goal.
You have to insist that your PR program is functioning at a higher level than just pushing out content to target audiences. You have to insist that the content originates from the intended audience, that it’s driven by their needs. That level of content is only possible when we understand the audience and make an authentic connection.
Jennifer Simpson Peterson, President