Guest post by Michael Shmarak, Principal of Sidney Maxwell Public Relations
If I were to meet most of the people reading Mikinzie’s blog, I would bet that most are working for a PR firm are within a particular practice or segment of an agency.
- Your team might have one of the following labels—Consumer, Corporate, Technology or even Digital/Social Media.
- You’re learning a lot about the client through the lens of your work and (in the process) you are building industry knowledge.
- What’s more, as you get older, you are trying to make yourself more marketable for whatever your next job might be.
Now, let’s look at your clients. They have labels of their own—and not just marketing and PR/communications ones.
- Some of the more common labels are Finance, Human Resources, Operations, Supply Chain, Manufacturing and Legal.
- These are the systems that keep companies in business.
- These people are constantly working to make their companies matter to the influencers who matter most to them—not to mention the people who run the company.
Anyone notice a difference here? Your clients are in the business of business. Your agencies are in the business of PR, communications and social media. As many of you embark on what can become a long and prosperous career, you all have a golden opportunity to bridge a divide that has been way too big for way too long.
When I worked at large agencies, it was required that my team knew what my clients did, made, sold, et.al., and I pushed for them to learn as much about how things were done/made/sold. Today, my team knows as much about the client’s operations as they do about its marketing function.
Why? Because the more we know about how a client operates, the more of an opportunity there is for us to create better programming. We read a client’s financial statements as much as we do their press statements so we can see who the players are, what issues are facing our clients and how they are dealing with them.
If you want to move ahead in your career, I strongly encourage you to read any business periodical—in print and online—to have you start thinking about how your efforts, intelligence and knowledge can contribute to your clients’ bottom lines. Most people would tell you to get an advanced degree to learn the world of business. If you want to do that, knock yourself out, but it might not be right for you.
However you do it, get to know your client’s businesses as much as possible. When you get promoted, you’ll be able to prove what you REALLY know.
Have some thoughts on this? Leave a comment below or tweet me @SidMaxPR.
If you ask Michael Shmarak’s daughter what Daddy does for a living, “Daddy gets paid to make other people look good;” that’s not far from the truth. As Principal of Sidney Maxwell Public Relations, Michael creates, distributes and merchandises meaningful content about a wide variety of clients. He does this using a wide variety of traditional and social communications practices and initiatives, with the ultimate goal of doing what is needed to help clients move their businesses and ideas forward.