Stacey Hood, Marketing Director at Birmingham’s own Steward Perry Construction, was one of the most interesting speakers we had in our class this semester. He’s from Texas, has lived in Ireland, loves soccer and once had a job working on Mustangs. Yet now, he works for a construction company, writing for their blogs in addition to other tasks. He graduated from UAB, where he got his start in PR, and had lots of useful advice to give.
1. Always engage – PR is useless unless you gain and retain the attention of the customer. Don’t just toss information at them and hope it is absorbed. Like many other speakers have suggested, Hood said that PR is a dialogue. You must draw the customer in, whether through social media or more traditional media outlets, but then also cultivate that relationship to keep their attention and business.
2. Content is important – In order to engage the customer, you must have quality content. It doesn’t matter how much you have in print if it isn’t really saying anything. You have to get the message across correctly and effectively in order to keep people coming back.
3. Understand “the box” – Often we hear about thinking “outside the box.” However, Hood noted the importance of understanding the parameters of that box for any given situation. You have to know the standard rules of the game in order to step outside of the box.
4. Work on your writing – If you are not a good writer, you cannot be an effective communicator. Stacey said that we should never stop working on improving our writing skills. Whether it is through blogging or practicing press releases, there are many applicable ways to get in a little extra practice.
5. PR is an upside down funnel – Essentially there is a great wealth of information in the world, and in PR, you might want to communicate a large chunk of that information to the public. However, it must be condensed down into easily digestible and understandable bits of knowledge. An upside down funnel is the perfect example of this. We must act as the funnel, condensing necessary information down into smaller parts, so that it will engage and inform customers.