The St. Louis chapter of PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) had a recent program on publishing a book for reputation management. The author/presenter said a book is a “highly effective calling card” that can enhance or repair one’s reputation. For him, writing and publishing a book resulted in significant consulting and speaking fees.
But what if your client does not have the time to write an entire book? How about writing something shorter?
Yes, a blog is a powerful thing and we all love good web content, but a widely distributed print publication may have greater impact.
Your newspaper may be looking for contributions for their Op-Ed page. Does your client have the expertise to write a commentary about a hot button topic or an ongoing issue? If not, can you help your client organize ideas and compose an article that states your client’s thoughts in a coherent manner? Offering meaningful input on a subject your client is knowledgeable about can enhance his or her reputation.
A client whose health care category suffers from many misconceptions wrote (with my help) an Op-Ed piece in 2010 that shared vital information with the public and the medical community. The article was submitted shortly after health care reform legislation was passed, making it timely and topical. The article ran in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Op-Ed section and resulted in strong positive feedback for my client.
Another client who owns several restaurants in St. Louis went on trips to Europe in ’09 and ’10. Both times I suggested he take notes, which I would help him turn into a travel story. My idea was that he and I would submit his experiences and observations to our local paper for the Sunday Travel section. Both years he came home without notes.
In 2011, he took a bus tour of Italy, visiting wineries and restaurants throughout the country. When he returned, he shared with me extensive notes he had written on his iPad while rolling across the countryside. His travel diary, with detailed reporting on the food and wine he had consumed, required no rewriting, just editing.
A local St. Louis food magazine recently printed his travel journal and several of his photos in a spread that covered seven pages. The online version features four recipes that the client put together, based on food he ate in Italy. The spread will serve as a “highly effective calling card” for my client.
The travel diary showcases his knowledge of Italian food and wine. This is important because one of his restaurants is considered by many to be the most authentic Italian restaurant in St. Louis. His other two restaurants feature Italian menu items. My client’s good reputation as a chef was established through years of hard work, but this feature helps reinforce that reputation. It also exposes him to new dining prospects who may soon enjoy the food and wine in his restaurants for the first time.
Talk to your clients about their activities and accomplishments. They may not visualize the same media opportunities you do. Remember: media need content. If your client can provide good content, that placement will be useful for the client and the media outlet.