A few weeks ago I watched the movie, Premium Rush. A film about a bike messenger who is being chased all over NYC by a gambling addicted cop.
Now, how is this related to public relations? Well, earlier this week I was discussing how PR involves anticipation. Not just expecting and looking forward to press (sometimes we wait weeks or months before media coverage hits print or television), but thinking (beforehand) about the variety of end results that could occur.
In the movie Premium Rush, the main character, Wilee, rides with extreme agility and skill, along with no breaks or speeds. He is basically a bike-riding virtuoso. As cool as all of that is, that’s not the point of this post – it’s his character’s heightened awareness of the task at hand and focus.
In the movie, there were screen pauses, and you’d see the various routes outlined that Wilee would imagine taking his bike along (quickly). If he went straight, he might risk running people off the road. If he went left he might cause an accident and risk getting hurt. And finally he would see a route that would result in the safest outcome…usually. (It’s a movie, so a little drama is expected.)
PR strategy is like this, visualizing certain outcomes and taking the route that will lead to the best results for yourself and/or clients. In order to do this, you must:
Sometimes you have an idea or pitch that’s an automatic winner, but this doesn’t always happen. Don’t just take the first idea that pops into your head. Be prepared to come up with multiple ways to add to the depth of your campaign, pitch your story angles, etc. Bounce ideas off of your co-workers and colleagues and be open to hearing their feedback.
Think & Pick a Route
Once you’ve come up with a few different possibilities, you’ll want to decide which direction to go. Before you choose, think of your desired outcome and whether executing this pitch, event, etc. and its anticipated results, will move you closer to your end goals. No one knows what the future holds, however, you can imagine certain scenarios and anticipate how you will handle those type of situations should they arise. For instance, you decide to plan a press conference at an outdoor venue, so you pick a date and time. You can imagine the success of your event if a torrential downpour arrives, no? What will you do if it rains? What’s your game plan?
You’ll want to imagine the big picture and how your steps will make a mark. Just because you don’t pick route A now, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to revisit later, so be flexible! And don’t do a heads or tails flip. If that’s how you’re deciding which route to choose, you’ll want to go back to the drawing board!
[Want to practice on something small (yet still challenging)? This “think and pick a route” also applies to your day-to-day interactions with people, as you can think before you utter words or get lazy and just blurt out whatever comes to mind. In certain scenarios, you can imagine the disaster.]
Remain Alert & Practice
Like every industry, there are changes and even more so in the communications industry (take a bow, social media!). When things are moving along nicely or you’re waiting for your press hits, this is not the time to take a break. You’ll want to pay attention to what’s trending, come up with new angles and keep researching.
There is always something new, more to learn and more ways to grow. Keep an open mind and keep practicing!
In the movie, everything moved rapidly – rushing along if you will. The speed was a focal point (as in most high-energy, action films), but it was also about the high that comes from the journey and doing a great job.
Are you creating that rush in your PR campaigns? What ways do you strategically plan?