By David Landis, President, LCI
LCI is fortunate to be headquartered in San Francisco, but part of a greater network of independently-owned communications agencies worldwide. These agencies help us compete internationally and handle business in more than 50 markets globally. Members of our network, the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN), recently met in Washington DC to share business insights, network with other members and discuss best practices.
What follows is PRGN’s complete list of key takeaways about the emerging global communications environment:
- Search engine optimization (SEO) is the key to building business today. Customers and clients increasingly are finding and vetting business partners through online search. If you’re not doing SEO, you may never be found by the right people. PRGN agencies are helping their clients with SEO through quality content, Paid/Earned/Shared/Owned campaigns and other approaches which leverage and balance traditional PR and digital channels.
- Nothing will fix bad content. Content is king, but content without the right strategy, context or audience is just clutter. The best content comes from knowing and addressing the specific wants and needs of your audience, thereby making your content “shareworthy”, and in knowing where to find and activate that audience, as it’s easier to find a community than to build a community. For maximum ROI on content, PRGN advises that communicators plan to spend as much time and effort promoting the content as you did to create it.
- To be successful in the tsunami of online content, modern storytelling has to touch human emotions and incorporate powerful images, gifs and video. And increasingly, those stories need to be formatted to be responsive and effective on any type of device screen – smart phone, tablet, laptop or desktop – and amplified via traditional media, otherwise they risk being passed over.
- The best PR firms continue to expand their service offering AND to deepen their expertise in their key markets. More PRGN agencies are combining traditional and emerging methods to meet the new environment. While they are strengthening their relationships with reporters and influencers, immersing themselves deeper into their communities and industry sectors, and embedding themselves in key events and issues, they are also adding new channels, tools and platforms (digital content, search engine optimization, social media marketing, video, photography, design, research and web) to be stronger business partners to their clients.
- Technology can’t do it alone, but technology plus personal relationships is a powerful combination. By leveraging technology and established personal relationships, PRGN agencies can offer clients a competitive advantage across the country and around the world, with glocalization – programs that are developed and implemented globally, but are tailored to fit local markets and cultures by local, in-country.
- Trust is more important than ever. In this age of massive product recalls, cheating scandals and record-level disdain for businesses, political candidates and institutions, trust is a scarce but key success factor. In fact, it’s the currency of good business. Being authentic – by demonstrating integrity, honesty and transparency – is the key to earning trust. PRGN member agencies help clients to stay on the right path and to build that kind of trust.
- Agency owners need to get off the day-to-day business treadmill. As entrepreneurs, PRGN agency owners are so focused on serving their clients’ needs that they often don’t take the time to reset their agency vision, identify new opportunities for their agency and their clients, or look at emerging trends and issues to find new ways to create value for their clients. The semi-annual PRGN leadership conferences can encourage and act as a catalyst for this kind of vision-setting.
- Great ideas can come from anywhere – from the other side of your own office to the other side of the globe. PRGN agencies have the ability to generate a world of great ideas to help their clients succeed, by seeking out and sharing diverse opinions and viewpoints across all demographic, geographic and cultural sectors.
In today’s competitive landscape, PR firms need every weapon available to win the war by providing clients state-of-the-art services. The true value of an international PR network combines the knowledge of today’s trends and issues with key management performance indicators, entrepreneurial spirit and global/regional insights that could only be revealed and exchanged through direct, face-to-face communication.
Thoughts? Tweet me @david_landis or leave a comment below. For more information about PRGN, please visit: www.prgn.com.
(Thank you to Detroit PRGN partner Jim Bianchi at Bianchi Public Relations for his original authorship of these topics).