Sweetening the deal

I love how Pam Williams describes the perception of her job in the opening of an article for STEP:

I get a couple of calls each week from design firms looking for “PR.” When I ask what they hope will result from our working together, the responses are often the same. “We want to be in (insert name of favorite design publication), and we’re also thinking (Fast Company | Wall Street Journal | Business Week) … something our clients will see.”

Sigh.

Most people confuse PR with publicity. They are not the same. PR, in the broadest sense, involves creating mutually beneficial relationships. Publicity, on the other hand, is “ink” or media exposure. Publicity is often part of a PR plan, but a PR plan may or may not include a formal publicity component. PR’s first goal is to create relationships.

If there’s one thing that people don’t realize about getting writers to publish articles about them, it’s that we’re much more likely to write about you if you take the time to get to know us.

And I don’t mean sending us five emails a week and calling us out of the blue.

Pam, of PR powerhouse Williams & House, knows how to form and maintain these relationships better than anyone in the design industry. And she’s written an amazing guide, full of expert advice from all the people who have so much ink spilled about them, it’s a wonder they can keep their clothes clean. Pam’s piece is named “Sweet Deals, Hard Truths,” and I assure you that reading it will have you thinking twice about what P and R stand for (if you’re pitching me, that’s: Presents and Roses). Included are my two cents about the importance of blogging, where she very kindly gives a shout out to this very blog you are reading now.

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  • http://outskirtspress.com/internetmarketing/ Lance Jepsen Author of Internet Marketing

    Great article on the value of blogging, thank you. I had a client who said pretty much the same thing to me. I convinced her to add a property management blog to get more traffic driven to her website via the search engines when they index her blog. Before she added a blog, she had about 25 keywords driving traffic to her website from the main search engines. About six months after she added a blog, she now has over 3,000 keywords driving traffic to her website. Before she added a blog, she had 3 visitors a day. Six months after she added a blog, she gets about 100 visitors per day. Her bottom line has improved by 30%. She is a big believer now in blogging.

    Blogging is such a great way to get more traffic to your website that I would recommend any business start an employee blogging program. The way it works is to pay an employee $8 for every article that is approved to go up on the blog that is a minimum of 350 words. Set guidelines such as if you are a receptionist, then write an article about how to calm down angry callers. If you work in the mail room, then write an article about how to process a huge amount of mail in the shortest time possible. If you are a marketer, then write an article about how to write an effective ad. The idea being to blog about something that has to do with your job at the company. The image you want to achieve in your blog is a professional image that makes someone think I want to hire that company because they have so many experts working for them!

  • Alissa

    Thanks Lance for your awesome insight. I think an employee blogging program is a great idea for any company…and I especially like that you specifically note that they should be paid for their posts.

  • http://www.phdla.com Michael Hodgson

    Pam Williams is, as all who know her will agree, the best. I’ve yet to meet House, but she has to be fabulous too, as are the rest of the team, which includes Pam’s Mum and dad (where are their photos on the website Pam?).
    Transparency dictates that I declare that I’ve been lucky enough to be on the same work team as Pam on several occasions and she always excels. But where Pam completely outperformed all expectations was when she took on selling tables and chairs for the AIGA gala for which I am co-chair. I had taken on this task last year and thought I’d done pretty well, but even with the down-turned economy and several season ticket holders opting out we easily out sold the previous year. Well I say easily, it wasn’t easy it was Pam.
    And here she is giving away all her trade secrets.
    Rumour has it that there may be a blog forthcoming from Ms Williams too!
    Brilliant!!

  • http://www.worldstudioinc.com Mark Randall

    What was so great about Pam’s article is that she reminds us that good PR is about strategy, as designers we know the meaning of strategy since we talk about it with our client’s all the time. Clearly understanding that PR is about strategy and not just ink on paper, was the ah-ha! moment for me. All too often ink on paper is just preaching to the choir in a design publication, the design profession needs more articles in mainstream publications, we need to make the profession more accessible and interesting to the general public. I want my Mom to understand what I do. But, to get that ink on paper we’ll need to be strategic.

  • http://modsf.com Michael Osborne

    Great article by Pam! After reading her article, it turns out I have done many of the things she recommends not really knowing what I was doing, and totally by the seat of my pants. I have always sent out press releases, have had a promotional brochure, tried to get interviews, speaking gigs and articles in magazines, and sent out letterpress stuff, especially Valentine’s cards. It really surprised me to read that in her considerable experience, she has found designers to shriek back from PR. Well, if they’re paying attention and have read this article, they should realize that they are extremely fortunate- Pam just gave them a free A+ course! Thanks and cheers to Pam for her unselfish contributions to our field.