Garnering fresh insight and rejuvenating inspiration are two skills that will make or break a PR career. These abilities make it easier to advocate for clients in new ways. That could mean pitching a story idea from a new angle, shedding light on a different business component or making noise about something new in an industry vertical. With that said, it is not always easy to take a step back and look at your clients with fresh eyes. We work closely with them on a daily basis and have their messaging and selling points forever cemented in our brains. So, how do we keep the creative juices flowing when we’re stuck in a routine?
One solution? Partner with your clients’ clients. Learning how to effectively dip into the resources your client has will enhance your abilities in achieving their public relations goals. The following examples explain different ways to use your client’s network.
Expand Thought Leadership
Expanding beyond the CEO and other thought leaders will take your thought leadership program to the next level. Ask your client contacts if they think it would be beneficial to get in touch with one of their partners using their product or service. This will provide you with a direct link to testimonies from people actually utilizing what your client has to offer, granting you sound bites, insight into your client’s strengths and trends straight from the trenches.
For example, if you do public relations for a software company, get in touch with a client using that software. How is the program working? How is it setting that company apart from its competitors? What are other similar businesses on the ground talking about within the industry? All of these questions provide a different perspective for public relations professionals to work from. A short, 30-minute call may lead to new pitch ideas for a month, so it’s definitely worth asking your client! You are a team, after all.
Getting in touch with your client’s clients will also provide you with authentic sources that are familiar with the products and services you represent. This pool of customers automatically adds a sense of legitimacy within public relations initiatives. For example, look at the differences in these message points:
- Security Software shields office computers from viruses for more than 1,000 companies nationwide.
- Security Software protects the computers of more than 1,000 companies nationwide and has cut IT repair budgets by more than 20 percent for companies like Accounting Firm.
The second phrasing is much more impactful, because it takes data straight from the software’s customer. The statement instantly goes from generic to specific. Stay in touch with your client about new business and consider utilizing their client pool for case studies. While this information might not be ideal for pitching, it’s great collateral for a sales team and may lead to coverage opportunities within specific verticals. For example, let’s say you have a client running a photo-sharing service. Talking to clients using that photo-sharing service can shed light on how that product is really working. A case study may reveal photo-sharing increased quarterly sales for a retailer by X percent. That’s a trend story in the making and may be something your client wouldn’t have known had you not talked with that retailer.
Strengthen Client Relations
Working with our client’s clients is a great way to strengthen relationships. The businesses and organizations clients choose to partner with represent different aspects of their business strategy. These businesses know your client in a different context and have the potential to shed light on new ideas and opportunities for you. In addition to benefitting the public relations process, it also allows you to get to know your clients better. You get to see how their business works from a new perspective and generates another touch point for their services.
For example, if you speak with a client of your client and end up using their insights or data in the media, that’s beneficial for both parties. This helps position your client in a better light to their business. Not only does this strengthen their relationships with their clients, but it also makes you truly look like the public relations expert you are.
Overall, taking extra time to make contact with your client’s clientele base shows you care. It’s a step that can often get lost in the hustle and bustle of pitching, media lists and conference calls, but it’s an important one to keep in mind. Providing fresh insight and inspiration into public relations efforts is always a positive step to take and what better source than the people who have a relationship with your client, too?