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By: Libby Pinkerton

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Oct 19, 2018 | Linhart Blog

Three Takeaways from the 2018 PRSA International Conference

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Last week, I was fortunate to attend the 2018 PRSA International Conference in the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin, Texas. The conference united communications colleagues and industry experts for an invigorating three days of networking, idea sharing and learning.

For me, the conference was eye opening and motivating – a refreshing and inspirational break from my normal routine and an opportunity to hear from top thought leaders and respected PR pros on new communications trends, best practices and the future of our industry.

Here are my top takeaways:

  • Trust is the new metric for media reach: National media isn’t truly “national” anymore – every outlet serves only a segment of the population. So, rather than counting media impressions or unique monthly visitors, use trust as a more effective measure of PR value. In his presentation focused on how to earn more media coverage in 2019, Michael Smart suggested impressions should be subordinate to the number of people in your audience who trust a particular outlet. For instance, if your audience is dairy farmers, a story in The Holstein Pulse, a small trade publication dedicated to a specific breed of dairy cattle, is more valuable than a Wall Street Journal placement. Though WSJ’s audience is much more expansive, a Holstein Pulse story is worth more given the trustworthiness and credibility of the outlet in the dairy farmers’ eyes.
  • Humanize crisis: The keys to effectively resolving a communications crisis are honesty and transparency. Take time to form custom, tailored responses to each outlet or inquiry, instead of using a canned or robotic answer. Emotion is not your enemy. Crises are personal, so make your responses personal – the more you can use a human spokesperson and be available for comment, the better.
  •  Target and offer value to the right reporter: A poorly written pitch with an offer of significance to a reporter is more valuable than a beautifully written pitch with an uninteresting or irrelevant offer. If your target outlet is known for profiling CEOs, refine your pitch and make your CEO interview offer upfront and clear – don’t add extra fluff. Bottom line – if your pitch doesn’t fit the reporter’s beat, it doesn’t matter how many times you follow up or how articulate and well-written your pitch.

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