Author: Jon Ekstrom
Woody Allen said “Half of success is showing up.”
When I speak with college students considering a career in public relations, this is a quote I like to use. So much of the success in an effective public relations effort is dependent upon just being in the right place at the right time. Not to downplay luck and fortuitous timing, but placing yourself or your client in prime position to achieve the goals you set is most often the result of exhaustive planning, strategic thinking and extensive preparation.
Public relations campaigns are won in the trenches – the unglamorous world of internet research, background materials and phone calls to people of importance. I’ve found this lesson the hardest to convey to students with dreams of lunch meetings, client golf outings, and high-level elbow-rubbing with famous people. Maybe 2% of all PR practitioners engage in such lunches and golf outings and these folks didn’t get there by accident. They are reaping the rewards of their own hard work and a passion for the PR they do. They positioned themselves to be at the right place and the right time just in case opportunity knocked. When it did, they were there to answer.
The key is, at some point they had to “show up.” Figuring out where you need to be and when (and why – but that’s another blog post entirely), is indeed halfway to success. So when students ask about getting a job in the world of PR, I always encourage them to do their due diligence about what interests them, figure out where they need to be, and show up. Sure, showing up only is only half the battle, but half way is better than none of the way at all.
I was reminded of this lesson having just attended a large conference for a client. While not our main goal, simply showing up and being visible to conference attendees was one of our greatest triumphs, and one of the things I heard most from attendees. Simply seeing us there gave them confidence and made them feel good.
Show up for your clients. Show up for yourself.