6 lessons dogs can teach PR pros

This agency head says our furry companions can unleash quite a few communications insights. Consider these takeaways.

You’ll never find a friend more loyal than your dog.

Pets can teach us several insights about loyalty—to ourselves, our clients and our jobs. A wagging tail carries a lot of weight. Pets remind PR pros to always be excited about what we do and how we feel about our clients.

In honor of the recent “take your dog to work day,” my office turned to our pets for inspiration performing our jobs better.

Here are six ways dogs can help communicators:

1. They help us prep for the dog and pony show

In PR agency life, new business can be a dog-eat-dog process. PR pros can gain inspiration around our dogs, and might even speak out loud to them about ideas for that perfect client pitch.

Speaking out loud can help you organize your thoughts—and dogs can be attentive listeners (something we should slow down long enough to try). Dogs can also let you know if you’re barking up the wrong tree, but they do in it a friendly, loving way—another lesson PR pros.

2. They help us pound out “paw-fect” press releases.

Nowhere are words more important than in PR. The right word can make all the difference between success and failure to those in the business of communicating. For us, words are more than just our tools: They are our lives.

The wrong word can derail our message—with it, perhaps a client relationship.

Top PR pros know that no copy is ever final after the first draft. Dogs can act as our daily reminder to step outside for a quick walk so we can come back to a project with a fresh set of eyes. Once you’ve completed your copy, have a second person review it for additional perspective and new set of eyes.

We live in a visual age. Emojis and videos are everywhere and can add a punch to your words—or replace them entirely. The adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” has never been more applicable.

Add unique visual elements to events and incorporate images into releases and pitches. It can often be how you get noticed and your clients covered.

3. They chase down visuals that capture attention.

Everyone loves social posts about pets. The internet is pet crazy, and animals are great “influencers.” Though cat videos are huge on social media, dogs work, too.

One of the most widely reported pieces on our agency featured a dog, and taught us to be visually aware when reaching out to reporters. Link your story to a hot video or image (dog-related or not) as a first step in gaining more attention.

4.They inspire us to help clients become top dogs.

Our furry friends always have a seat at the table. When the job seems too “ruff” and campaigns appear to head to the dog house, they remind us to have a sense of humor and persevere.

Dogs don’t get a treat the first crack out of the box, but instead make a case for it—or beg. Be prepared to be a bulldog in order to get traction. You have to be patient, persistent and persuasive if your story is to see the light of day. Never give up on a good angle.

Good stories are all around. Be open and capitalize on what’s timely and trending by finding the link between what you’re pitching and what’s currently hot in the world.

5. They help us sniff out top news and trends.

Notice how attentive dogs are when out for a walk. They’re tuned in to the world around them. Watching them, PR pros can learn it’s not always the obvious things that matter. Instead, it’s the little, hard-to-notice and unique things that can pique an audience’s interest.

Dig beneath the surface of what clients share to find what really tells their stories. Don’t ignore the elephant in the room, either. Be transparent and relevant when dealing with journalists, or face failure.

6. They show us that “fur-tastic” video is crucial to content marketing.

Whether it’s on Facebook Twitter, Snapchat or YouTube, online videos are great for engagement (and a huge component of PR).

Though it doesn’t have to contain dogs, the presence of a furry face might help capture attention:

Take Your Dog To Work Day – Short from O’Connell & Goldberg on Vimeo.

Barbara Goldberg is the chief executive and founding partner of O’Connell & Goldberg. You can follow the agency’s office mascot, Rosie the bulldog, on Instagram: @DirectorOfDrool.

Topics: PR

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