3 PR lessons learned from Dad


As Father’s Day draws near, it’s important to not forget why we celebrate: To appreciate Dad and all the lessons he taught us. While most of the life lessons I learned from my father were meant to keep my smart mouth in check and possibly keep me from visiting him in the courthouse, there are actually quite a few which can be applied daily to your brand or business.

In honor of Father’s Day, here are three of my Dad’s favorite sayings that translate into excellent advice you can apply to your PR strategy.

Honesty is the best policy

My father taught us early on that honesty is indeed the best policy. With lines like, “it’ll all come out in the wash,” we were taught that our only option was to be truthful.

Even if we were asked to snitch on our friends or siblings. Especially when we did something wrong. Always when our mom asked us if her outfit made her look fat. There was only room in our house for honesty.

When it comes to PR, the same is true. Nearly every conversation about promoting your brand or business comes back to the same crucial idea, just be honest.

From crisis communications to reputation management to even drafting copy for your website, honesty is paramount.

The recent Theranos debacle came with several opportunities for honesty in communication. While the startup itself arguably took too much leeway on padding its numbers and business achievements, the entire scandal could have been avoided if they’d just been honest.

Yet, even when they had a chance to course correct and go with the truth, Theranos chose not to. But that’s an entirely different blog post.

Be transparent. Be truthful. Be authentic to what you want to be known for. But don’t be a liar. Just be honest.

Hustle on defense wins

This is my father’s favorite line ever and he will apply it to any conversation at any time. But it turns out, father does know best: Hustle on defense wins.

Or rather, hustling everywhere all the time wins.

No matter how strong your brand, how long you’ve owned the company, no matter where in the world you are. Work hard, hunker down, hustle, and stay feisty.

The same can be said for PR activity. The more you do, the more buzz about your brand or business you’ll see. And the more buzz about what’s yours that can be seen, the more customers or sales you’ll have.

Sign up for HARO. Set up a six- or 12-month news announcement calendar. Create an editorial schedule for your social media. Develop a 12-month publicity plan. Create content to get your business’ or brand’s name out there.

If you hustle, you will win.

It’ll all work out

It’ll all work out, eventually. Sometimes I forget that this is a lyric from a Tom Petty song and not just something my dad always said.

Yet, truer words have never been spoken.

In the midst of my most intense moments—both personal and professional—you can find me humming this line repeatedly. Because whatever I might be going through, my father taught me that the current state of affairs I was experiencing is not how something ends.

There is always a solution. And, while it might not be the solution you were hoping for, things do always work out for the best.

When it comes to PR, the same is true.

When pitching your story or brand to the media, be prepared to get rejected. To feel as if you’ve failed or that things will never work out.

Yes, it can feel discouraging after a while. But remember, editors and reporters get pitched hundreds of story ideas daily and do not have the ability to pursue every media lead that comes their way.

The key is to stay positive, keep at it, adapt your messaging to fit the outlet you are pitching, and learn as you go along.

Still failing to get that placement? Make sure you are pitching the right media contacts and that you’ve done your research. Double-check your pitch and make sure it is on message but still relevant.

It also is important to be persistent with your follow ups until you land that coveted yes from a media outlet who is interested in covering your story.

Force yourself to keep trying. Make yourself keep working at it. Eventually, you’ll succeed. Because it really does all work out…eventually.

What inspirational lessons from Dad can you apply to your PR practices?

Want more helpful tips like the ones above plus more? Check out The Buzz: A Media Darling’s Guide to Press Coverage, get on the wait list for Hearsay’s PR mastermind group (launching soon), or email me directly to schedule a Mini PR or Mini PR Plus session today!