3 PR lessons learned from Presidents' Day


After the lovefest that is Valentine’s Day, Presidents' Day can seem like a bit of a ho-hum holiday—whether you get a day off work or not. As a national holiday founded on the principle of remembrance, however, Presidents' Day reminds us of the great leaders of our country who led us through some of the roughest times in United States history. Especially those who managed to do so with poise and grace.

As we take a day to remember the 45 great leaders of the land that we love, here are three brilliant PR lessons from our Presidents.

Always be honest

Who doesn’t remember the story of George Washington and the cherry tree? The man who cannot tell a lie will always be remembered in our nation’s history as the leader who founded our great country on trustworthiness and honesty.

That same spirit of honesty still applies today regarding PR: Don’t tell a lie. Between fact checking and social media, the truth will always come out.

Getting ahead, even on a white lie, isn’t worth it. Plus, it’s incredibly unethical. Rather, be completely transparent in all your PR efforts.

By laying your cards out on the table, you’ll gain the media’s trust. And your PR efforts will go far!

Your message matters

A PR lesson Presidents know better than anyone else is one that has stood the test of time: your message still matters.

Love him or loathe him, Trump’s "Make America Great Again" is more than just a slogan. It’s his primary key message. And it’s been brilliantly used.

By keeping his key message front and center and having it displayed across banners, erected on yard signs, amplified on social media, and written on bright, red hats, Trump made sure no one in the country wasn’t aware of what his plan was.

While many originally considered it to be hokey or oversimplified, "Make America Great Again" spoke to and worked for Trump’s target audience of a working class upset with the status quo.

You can argue that the election of 2016 had more mediums than any to communicate over; however, the power of Trump’s strong brand and message remain.

Long before he took office, Trump and his team understood that one’s message matters the most. And, in the end, his team prevailed.

Find the why

Contrary to popular belief, there’s more to Honest Abe than being a character played by Daniel Day Lewis or slaying vampires on the big screen. A leader of a nation that was truly divided, Lincoln worked to reunite the opposing sides by helping them find the why.

How did Lincoln perform what some thought would take a miracle? He helped the North and the South regain their focus on the common principles that once united them.

A lot can be learned from Lincoln’s simple approach, especially as you work to promote your brand and engage the media. Knowing why your brand or story is unique, why it matters to the local/regional/national media, why it helps editors or reporters and why readers/listeners/fans need to hear about it, will help your brand become a media darling.

Remember, whenever you feel stuck while reaching out to the media, remind whomever you’re reaching out to what unites your brand to their viewers’ and readers’ interests. By showcasing how you can connect your brand with their needs, helps you connect over common principles. And makes you invaluable to the media.

How do your PR efforts stack up against the tactics of our nation’s leaders? 

Want more helpful tips like the ones above plus more? Check out The Buzz: A Media Darling’s Guide to Press Coverage or sign up for exclusive Hearsay content.