The Truth about Public Relations from a Veteran Television Producer-Turned-Publicist

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As a television producer, I always used to admire how some publicists always seemed to know exactly what I needed even before I asked for it. Of course, over the years, I've met plenty of publicists who could care less about a journalist's deadline needs; for those flacks, it was really all about keeping their famous/demanding clients happy.

As a television news producer, it sometimes seemed like the only thing you needed to do to become a successful publicist was to invest in an all-black wardrobe and sell your soul to the Devil (just kidding...but not really).

Anyway, the joke's on me because I made the switch to the dark side. For the last four years, I've been a full-time, independent publicist, and you know what?



I can still look at myself in the mirror.

It hasn't always been easy. It hasn't always been pretty. But it has been interesting, and I've learned a lot about myself and about the craft of public relations.

Some publicists (you know who you are out there!) might argue on this point, but to me, honesty and integrity are non-negotiable. I've spent my life and television career working hard to earn a reputation as an honest, hardworking, and creative professional. If giving any of that up was the price of becoming a successful publicist, my publicity career wouldn't be a long one. Four years into my switch from television news writing/producing to publicity, I've discovered it really is possible to keep your integrity.

In fact, I'm happy to report that journalistic ethics, editorial judgment, and integrity are all valued commodities and essential aspects of establishing trust and credibility as a publicist.

In a sense, being a publicist isn't that far off from being a journalist. You are still telling a story, and you are still helping to inform and educate a large audience. You can still find new ways to have your ideas and words help others realize their dreams.

Here are some other truths I've discovered along the way about public relations:

Public relations are a war waged on multiple fronts simultaneously.

Each client requires a customized approach that recognizes the client's true essence and hidden assets.

The publicist must understand news cycles and how to pitch content that is ready-made for the media.

The publicist must also understand the various nuances and pitching tips involved in contacting different types of media.

Obviously, the publicist must know how to write and disseminate a killer press release on deadline.

The publicist must understand the new technology and tools that are available for maximum media outreach and maximum media placement.

Emails are important, but face-to-face pitching and phone pitches (i.e., trench warfare) are essential skills that must be mastered in order to have success.

You need to be able to think, live, and breathe outside the box—and be audacious every day.

To a good publicist, "no" never means "no." It simply means "no" right now and "no" to the way you just pitched your client/story.

That's what PR is.

It's about using creativity and hard work to maximize a client's chance to achieve his or her PR goals.

Also, a media hit/placement is only as good as it can be used to leverage more press and future media hits—and NO celebrating until you get into the end zone.

Always know as much as you can about your client as well as those to whom you are pitching.

One of our most valued clients—a top executive recruiter on Wall Street—once gave me some great advice: "The most successful salespeople in the world are invariably the ones who know the most information about the product they are selling." The same concept also applies to a publicist's clients and media contacts.

Public relations require brains, guts, heart, and soul.

And that's the truth.

About the Author:

Adam Kluger is a former television writer/producer (CNN's Showbiz Today, FOX 5, E!).

For more than a decade, Adam interviewed Hollywood's top celebrities and wrote and produced the highly rated entertainment news show CNN Showbiz This Weekend with Bill Tush. After leaving CNN in 2001, Adam worked as a writer/producer at FOX 5 News, MSNBC, and E! until he founded Adam Kluger Public Relations in 2003.

Over the past four years, Adam's clients have appeared on/at/in:

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Dr. Phil, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, CNN, CNNfn, CNN Headline News, CNN International, Paula Zahn Now, Fox News Channel, Fox 5 New York, Good Day New York, NBC Nightly News, NY1, ABC-TV, The Howard Stern Show (radio and TV), E!, Blind Date, Naked New York, VH1, Playboy, MSNBC, Newsday, WB11, UPN 9, NJN12, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Real Deal, Entrepreneur, Pink, InfoWorld, ComputerWorld, Monster.com, The New York Post, Chicago-Sun Times, The New York Sun, New York Observer, WCBS radio, 1010 WINS , Z-100, Life & Style (radio and TV), Metro Channel, Bloomberg, Forbes.com, Microsoft Small Business Center, Morgan Stanley.com, BusinessTalk Radio Network, Yahoo Business, Makor/92nd St. Y, Learning Annex, Animal Fair, TIME, Forward, Esquire, Wayne Brady, Ricki Lake, WCBS, The Hartford Courant, Lavalife.com, Nerve.com, The Associated Press, Wireless Flash, Mancow, KTLA, Loveline, Rick Dees, Mitch Albom, Doug Stephan, Your World with Neil Cavuto, Murray in the Morning, and dozens of nationally syndicated radio shows around the United States and Canada.
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