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Steve Turner: Managing Principal with Solomon/Turner

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Before turning his sights toward the PR industry, Steve Turner worked in the broadcasting industry for several years, first as an announcer, then in advertising sales and general management.

"Over time, I found out I had an ability to generate creative ideas that went beyond the scope of just running a radio spot on one station," Turner said. "I eventually worked for an advertising agency for about one year and got exposed to public relations. Shortly thereafter, I moved back to my hometown, St. Louis, and started my own public relations firm. I've run my own firm now and/or served as a partner for about 20 years."

Turner is now a principal with Solomon/Turner, a boutique PR agency based out of Chesterfield, Missouri. As managing principal of the agency, Turner primarily works on developing new clients and overseeing the planning, strategy, and execution of various campaigns. He feels that the agency is unique in the PR industry because of its devotion to providing senior legal service and management to its clients, which are predominantly technology-related and emerging companies but also include clients in the healthcare, retail, and uniform-rental industries.



"We enjoy our work and get to know our clients—and their businesses—very well," Turner said.

Since the agency opened in 1989, it has become highly successful but has remained true to its goals and roots, which Turner considers the thing he is most proud of in his 20-year career.

"We have been able to maintain a solid business when many other agencies closed or changed their business model to become a different kind of marketing company," said Turner. "I'm proud that we have had many clients for five years and 10 years. In fact, we still do business with one client that has been with us since just about the year we started."

Turner feels that continuous change in technology has changed the face of public relations by quickening the pace and tempo of both the industry and people's lives. With the creation of the Internet, he said, a news event can happen at a given time and an hour later be accessible on the Internet, whereas just a few short years ago, it would take a day or longer before people could read about it.

"The Internet has obviously changed the way we do business," Turner said. "Reporters want news releases and most materials emailed to them. Most client contact is by email. In addition, businesses have to concern themselves with their 'online reputation.' What are their customers saying about them in chat rooms and on blogs? Reputation management now also includes search-engine ranking. Who would have even thought about that a few years ago?"

Turner predicts that the amount of technology involved in PR will continue to increase as the years go by—that there will be "new ways to do our jobs better." While he is uncertain as to what those ways will be, he feels that all the technology available to us will "be condensed into a few platforms." He also predicts a convergence of media ownership, with fewer companies owning more media outlets.

"There will probably be less divergence of opinion within traditional media (TV, newspapers, radio) and more leveraging of assets where you will see the same reporter write an article for print or online, air it on television, and discuss it on radio. We will also see less separation between advertising and editorial as companies attempt to maximize profits and shareholder value. All this will make our jobs a lot more interesting," Turner mused.

Q. What do you do for fun?
A. Golf, reading, writing a blog (www.solomonturner.blogspot.com), following our local sports teams, and spending time with family and friends.
Q. What CD is in your CD player right now?
A. Billy Joel's Greatest Hits.
Q. What is the last magazine you read?
A. Sports Illustrated.
Q. What's your favorite TV show?
A. I watch a lot of HBO, so I like The Sopranos, Real Time with Bill Maher, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Q. Who is your role model?
A. I admire several people. John Graham, who built Fleishman-Hillard into an international public relations giant, would be one. David Ogilvy, who many consider the father of modern advertising, would be another. Brian Tracy, a success and motivational author and speaker, would be another. Finally, I must include my father, who is very well read and was very successful. I consider him my best friend as well as my dad.

Turner said that those who are looking into PR as a career field should remember that writing skills are an essential element of the industry.

"I would recommend honing those skills so you are able to communicate your thoughts and ideas in short and concise sentences," he advised. "The ability to write across numerous platforms (news releases, white papers, blogs, radio PSAs, etc.) is a skill that will always be of great value."
On the net:Solomon/Turner PR
www.solomonturner.com
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