PR lessons from the beach
Summer is finally here! Can you believe it? I live near the water in California where it’s 72 and sunny all year long, but summer is my favorite season.
It’s my favorite season, because growing up far, far away from the water as a child, summer meant it was finally warm enough for swimsuits, pools, and unlimited sunshine. I’m a total beach bum at heart.
In my more than three decades on this planet, I've had my share of sunburns, sand in my hair, and suntan lotion in my eyes. I also have noticed that the beach can dish out PR lessons left and right.
Before you head out to soak up every second of summer, here are a few PR lessons you can learn from the beach.
Only a fool comes to the beach unprepared without the proper gear. Most importantly is sunblock.
Sunblock may be a pain to remember to apply, especially when you have sand covering ever part of your body, but it beats the alternative—a painful sunburn!
PR should be approached the same way. Having a plan and being prepared with the right tools before you start promoting your brand or business is crucial.
Not only will preparing a PR plan serve as a guide for what you should do next, even if it can be a pain to prepare, but the plan also will help steer you back towards your goals should your communications efforts go off course.
Ride the waves
When you are at the beach and a wave comes at you, you need to make a snap decision.
You can't afford to run away from the oncoming wave and risk getting caught up in it, only to tumble through and get scraped up on the sand and shells. The best way to attack the waves is to jump as high as you can to rise above them.
With that said, you also should be able to tell when you should keep your head down and dive through a wave. Ducking down and diving through a wave saves you from discomforts that standing your ground may invite, like a mouthful of saltwater.
Riding the PR waves can be just as tricky.
How do you know when your brand should rise above and when it should dive through? By drafting and then sticking to your key messages.
Your key messages tell your target audience everything you want them to know about your brand or your business. Having these three to five consistent points at your fingertips to consistently go back to is the best plan of attack you can have for promoting your brand.
Think about it: If you don’t know how to speak and talk about your brand, how will anyone else? No matter what waves come at you, stick with your key messages. You’ll sail on through.
Tides always turn
Just like the tide, there will be high points and low points in your PR efforts.
Sometimes, the media will flock to your brand like seagulls to a beach picnic. Other times, your outreach efforts will come up as empty as a seashell.
Both are natural and are out of your control. Remember, the effort you put into your PR tactics will pay off. High tide is coming, you just must wait.
Don't let the low points or droughts in media coverage get you down, the only salt water on your skin should be that of the ocean, not tears.
Be shore of yourself
Beaches typically require wearing swimsuits. Wearing a swimsuit takes a lot of self-confidence.
The same need for confidence applies to your PR outreach.
Don’t be intimidated by other brands or competitors who may have bigger budgets or PR teams than you. You know who they are, the ones that always seem to be doing #allthethings.
Who cares! They aren’t you, they don’t have your goals, and spending time worrying about others takes energy away from you doing what is best for you.
I have friends with one-woman shops who have secured placements on The Today Show and in People without a dime as their PR budget or any assistance to speak of.
One friend’s media pitch filled with faked confidence even resulted in 33,000 orders in 24 hours!
With PR, it doesn’t matter how big your business or budget is. It only matters that you put in effort and stick with it. We all start somewhere.
What PR lessons have your learned from your time at the beach?