Tis' the era of instant gratification. But let's be real, there are no instant results in Public Relations. This profession thrives off of nurtured relationships, clear communication, and a good reputation. So unlike a One Night Stand, you can't just hit up a journalist with a press release, follow up, then quit it. The same goes for clients, you can't just talk to them before a project when business is slow and after when it's time to say thank you for your business. My point is that great Public Relations focuses on building solid relationships through constant communication and building a great reputation for your brand/company by being reliable.
A word that I'd like to focus on is NURTURE, as a noun it means the process of caring for and encouraging the growth or development of someone or something. NURTURE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS PEOPLE because your business is dependent on your clients’ business and the amount of press and business you generate for them. Not only is your business depended on your client, but doesn't it feel good to see something you believe in grow and develop into something spectacular?
When your business takes the time nurture relationships, journalist start seeking you out for recommendations/insight and clients remain loyal -- hopefully both instances result in increased business. A GOOD relationship can be worth it's weight in gold.
Here are 5 keys to solid relationships:
Be the solution to a problem
Don't come around causing new problems. Give journalist clear and concise answers to their pressing questions and represent your client in the most honest way. The best way to be proactive and be a solution is to think ahead of the current problem.
Everyone respects loyal people, especially when it's not required nor expected. Build the relationship that will close the deal by always showing up on time (figuratively and literally).
Give client a voice and listen to their feedback
Although you may be advising/consulting on the best way to build your clients brand, relationships require understanding and two-way conversation. Listen to your clients needs and concerns and work with your client to create something both of you will love.
Really, the little things do count! Who doesn't enjoy being thought of on a birthday, anniversary, or holiday? Clients will feel appreciated with special thank you's offering them exclusive access to events, resources, and discounts. Go the extra mile and show you took the time to appreciate your client or favorite journalist by sending special notes written by hand. Simple things that say, "I remembered" means a lot.
Stay relevant and on top of their mind. Let your contact know that you appreciate them, thank them for who they are, and ask if you can be of additional assistance. During a project and in between, ask clarifying questions and use progress reports to let your contacts know you are working hard and are a core part of their team.