PR is Chess, not Checkers

Recently I’ve been thinking about the speed of PR. Public Relations is unique because in many ways it’s extremely fast-paced, but at the same time it can take a while to see traction, particularly on the client side.

To quote Detective Alonzo Harris (played by Denzel Washington) in the movie Training Day, “The sh**’s chess, it ain’t checkers!” Harris says this to rookie cop Jake Hoyt (played by Ethan Hawk) to emphasize and explain the amount of planning and work it took to rid Los Angeles of one of its most notorious drug dealers.

While Harris is one of the most nefarious dirty cops in movie history, this line can be an accurate description of gaining positive PR traction, particularly for smaller, start-up companies with a new concept or idea. This is especially true if your company is new to PR.

What can you do to avoid these newbie PR jitters and ensure your patience with your agency isn’t being wasted? Following are a few tips that will help you get the most out of your PR agency’s efforts.

First thing, communicate effectively both internally and with your agency. This is the best way to get the most PR bang for your buck. Ensure there is a clear chain of command within your team and clearly communicate this process to your agency. If communication isn’t clear on both sides of the equation bad things can, and often times do, happen.

Next up, make sure there’s a high level of accountability both with your agency AND your internal team. Make sure deadlines are met and quality work is being produced from everyone involved in your company’s PR efforts.

Last thing, make yourself available to participate in editorial opportunities. If an editor wants to talk to your company have people designated and available. No matter how small the publication is it’s good to have your name out there. Most times things start small; very few companies have their first media hit appear on the front page of The Wall Street Journal. Rome wasn’t built in a day.  

As a client, the most important thing to remember is there are many PR moves being orchestrated behind the scenes. Also, remember that patience is key. If your agency is working hard and you’re giving them the support they need the media hits will come.