PR trends come and go but some things are timeless, including the highly-acclaimed, frequently quoted high school comedy Mean Girls. The film may be nearly 20 years old, but its renowned dialogue still has a lot to teach us about building positive brand exposure, maintaining media relations, and meeting client needs.
As stated by Lindsay Lohan early in the film, ‘It’s October 3rd,’ which unofficially marks ‘Mean Girls Day’.
In honour of this millennial-inspired holiday, here are five lessons we can take from the box office hit to ensure your PR approach stays flexible and plastic, and proves that the limit for results does not exist:
1. “On Wednesdays, we wear pink”; The importance of knowing your client’s brand
As this year’s summer must-see film Barbie proved, a good campaign hinges on clear, identifiable branding – whether it be your messaging, unique selling points, or just making everything pink. Being aware of the company, expert or product you’re pitching, and don’t stray too far from your client’s niche when reaching out to journalists.
Remember to stick to what your client is comfortable speaking on, and always reiterate their key messaging points. Pretty soon, journalists will consider you the go-to thought leader and industry expert, rather than someone trying to be a part of every conversation. It’s not just about following trends; it’s also about creating and leading them.
2. “Stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen”; Stick within key industry terms journalists know
Yes, your client may be the next sector disruptor that’s sure to shake up the game. But don’t forget that your job when grabbing a journalist’s attention and securing coverage is to build on what they already know rather than try to reinvent the dictionary. Explaining what you have to offer in simple, understandable terms can often yield better interest than bombarding them with technical, branded jargon they definitely won’t understand.
Look out for key terms that are repeated in the news cycle over and over. A good PR can take the existing news environment and carve a path for their client, but that means being aware of the keywords that are going to take you to the front page of trades and nationals alike.
3. “I’m not a regular mom, I’m a cool mom”; Provide your clients with familiarity, confidence and assurance
When it comes to PR, part of keeping client expectations met is reassuring them that you are the only choice for the job. Reassuring them that you can deliver their needs, but also relate to them on a personal level means that you become their go-to communications professional.
Nothing bores your contact more than someone shy, unapproachable and downright awkward to interact with. A well-placed joke or familiar question to break the ice can work wonders for transforming weekly catchups into the highlight of your client’s week. Just remember, at the end of the day you’re a professional, and don’t overstep that PR-client line for the sake of banter.
4. “She doesn’t even go here”; Knowing who and who not to target
Understanding the who’s who of who’s important to your industry and writes for your target publications is the bread and butter of any good media list. A busy-minded PR will be able to pick out the key targets directly, rather than spamming everyone with a wave of unnecessary and unwanted pitches. Being mindful of exactly who’s in charge and who is going to be most interested in what you have to promote is critical when standing out against the thousands of other PR executives trying to push their own stories. Keep your contact details up to date; the worst thing you can do is put effort into pitching to a journalist who no longer works at your target publication.
5. “Get in loser, we’re going shopping!”; In-person journalist relations can go a long way
Flattery also goes far; in today’s online working landscape, it’s easy to forget the power of a face-to-face conversation. Don’t be afraid to make the big play of inviting a journalist out for a coffee – they’re people too! It’s more impressive to be able to name-drop your media contacts directly to a client, rather than speak broadly about intended targets. Sure, networking might not be your cup of tea, but who knows? Maybe that one outing will be enough to make a journalist remember you as a trusted confidant for months to come.