This weekend I watched the movie ‘The Founder’, a story about salesman Ray Kroc who turned two brothers’ innovative fast food eatery, McDonald’s, into one of the biggest restaurant businesses in the world with a combination of ambition and ruthlessness. It wasn’t an easy journey to the worldwide success we know today. Yet at the close of the movie, Ray Kroc says that the key to success is persistence, persistence, persistence.
Persistence is defined as “the fact of continuing in an opinion or course of action despite difficulty or opposition”.
Anyone who has set up a new business will know the level of belief and persistence you need to push it forward; to hold on to your vision and push it across the line. Even when that line keeps moving, whether by design or not, you can’t lose sight of the end goal. It can be tough. There are many hurdles along the way and self-doubt is a constant companion. But persistence is an essential ingredient in the armour of any entrepreneur. All of the world’s leading business people will say it comes down to true grit. Getting your hands dirty when the going gets tough, having the energy to motivate your team and the passion to succeed.
Within PR, you need all these ingredients and more. I have had my fair share of new clients and prospects who want to know what they can expect from their first press release. In their minds, they expect a single press release to launch their company into the awareness of the mainstream and send profits through the roof. And when that doesn’t happen, they wonder why.
Chances are, a single press release isn’t going to do all that much for you. That’s just not how it usually works. Persistence is the key. You must try multiple angles and hooks, and you must continuously send out newsworthy press releases steadily over a period of time to get the attention of the media.
In today’s era, we are moving past the press release and in to online content generated materials. To get the message out we must look to blogs, video, infographics and paid-for media. But all aren’t quick wins.
Persistence is also the underlying theme that needs to be drummed into the incoming professionals fresh out of uni. Persistence in PR not only provides results for your clients, but helps you build relationships with journalists.
But persistence can also backfire if you finally catch a journalist on the phone just when they are having a bad day. In that case, the response might be grumpy and uninterested but keep trying. If you are passionate about your clients and believe they can help, then it’s your duty to keep trying.
In public relations, persistence is most definitely a virtue; whether it’s building solid relationships with media, presenting new ideas to a client or researching consumer engagement trends. It’s important to remember there will be many battles in the war. You certainly won’t win every battle, but persistent people look for new opportunities, re-trench after a setback, review past successes and failures as learning lessons and fight for the greater good of the business.
As Ray Kroc says, it is ‘dog eat dog’. If you aren’t being persistent, then your competitor will be. Dig deep and stay true to the end goal.
Maybe the P in PR should stand for Persistence!
*The Founder is a great movie and I highly recommend it. 10 out of 10 from me.