Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Useful Advice 

This article is advice on how to report on anythingIt is written for reporters but it applies as well to PR practitioners, especially the first guideline -- "Don't go in cold."  There is an old saying attributed to Louis Pasteur, "Chance favors the prepared mind."  Understanding a topic in depth before reporting it is essential to grasping subtle details.  The second and third rules are equally important -- find a guide and go in with a guiding question.  A guide knows where to look.  A guiding question integrates one's investigation. 

There is no excuse for failing to be prepared when learning a client's business -- especially in the internet age.  We have a policy in our offices when starting a new account of asking the client for all available documents about their business -- brochures, PowerPoint presentations, white papers, etc.  We ask clients for everything -- whether material seems relevant or not.  It is only after digesting this information and searching the internet that we interview the client.  By then we know what we don't know and we know what to ask and we're ready to work with a guide through the organization.

Packer's rules are worth memorizing.

I am a currently a college student majoring in journalism, with an emphasis in strategic communications. In one of my courses this week Gwen Griffin, owner of Griffin Communications Group an advertising/PR agency came and spoke to us. In explaining what she does on a day-to-day basis, Gwen said that getting to know the client is number one. In order to successfully produce what their clients want they have to be completely prepared by learning in great detail what the client is about, what their message is, what their strengths are and so on. They even go into detail as great as learning who exactly the client wants to reach and have them define exactly what their product is. Gwen said that they can not start a project, or do it well without being 100% prepared--knowing the basis of the client and the project. As with life though, right? We can't go around doing day-to-day things without being prepared, why would we try to do so in our professions?

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