PR Lessons from C-SPAN

As a political junkie, I can’t get enough of the news and gossip from inside the beltway. My iPhone is usually tuned into C-SPAN Radio instead of Pandora. So when C-SPAN’s Steve Scully came to Rochester last week to speak at a PRSA event, I was excited to slip out of my PR hat for […]

As a political junkie, I can’t get enough of the news and gossip from inside the beltway. My iPhone is usually tuned into C-SPAN Radio instead of Pandora. So when C-SPAN’s Steve Scully came to Rochester last week to speak at a PRSA event, I was excited to slip out of my PR hat for […]

As a political junkie, I can’t get enough of the news and gossip from inside the beltway. My iPhone is usually tuned into C-SPAN Radio instead of Pandora. So when C-SPAN’s Steve Scully came to Rochester last week to speak at a PRSA event, I was excited to slip out of my PR hat for a bit and immerse myself in all-things election 2012.

But while Steve discussed what he believes makes or breaks a presidential campaign, I couldn’t help but relate it back to what we do every day as PR professionals. And even though I always thought presidential politics was a world away from the work we do at Text 100, Steve’s golden rules for the campaign trail apply perfectly to our own campaigns.

Your message has to resonate.

 

Steve has interviewed many presidential hopefuls over the years and the first question he always asks is simple: Why do you want to be President? He said the best answer is always the one that is straightforward, honest and resonates with the people watching at home. If the answer doesn’t strike a chord with the audience, they won’t feel comfortable voting for the candidate.

Similarly, the messages we develop alongside our clients should always strive to do just that. Whether the client wants to end up in the White House or on the cover of Printing Impressions, if  the message doesn’t resonate with the intended audience, we might end up with a losing campaign.

 

Your reputation is important – keep it clean!

 

As Warren Buffett said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” Steve was able to offer many examples of presidential hopes that were dashed due to decisions made on the campaign trail that put the candidate’s reputation into question – I’m sure we all can think of a few.

While most of our clients may not be as high-profile as the presidential candidates, their reputations are just as important. Our work as their PR counsel is to help them maintain or improve the reputation they’ve spent time building – because at the end of the day, no matter what new innovation they’ve brought to the table or message we’ve helped them craft, it’s their reputation that people will remember.

So it turns out PR professionals can take away a lot more from the folks over at C-SPAN than just the latest news from D.C. Maybe my addiction to C-SPAN Radio isn’t so nerdy after all.

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