A client recently returned from a successful media tour in New York City. She’d sent a few handwritten notes to the editors she talked with and wondered if that had been overkill. My immediate—and lasting response—response: not at all. I think as publicists we worry sometimes that an old-fashioned communication method might not seem professional or cool in the sense that we’re somehow out of touch.
But truly one of the reasons we do experience success is because we rely, when it’s appropriate, on universal strategies that help us connect with one another. Maybe that’s why I like this work. In some instances, one’s success is dependent upon the ability to simply connect. Yes, of course the language needs to be clean and to the point and if your pitch is off the mark, then you’re unlikely to get the response you’re looking for.
But if the material is solid and you’ve got the right names and contacts, then yes, manners do matter. At least that’s the way I’ve been successful. I’ve always thought that it is the gracious squeaky wheel that gets the grease. Not every time. But over the course of a career that includes three published (and still in print) books, several articles in a variety of magazines and newspapers I can say with a fair amount of certainty that manners and attitude count.
This may be especially important as more and more companies and individuals reconsider the allocation of their publicity and marketing budgets. I’m not suggesting that someone around the conference table is saying, “Oh, we can’t cut the PR people; they’re just so nice . . .” But I am saying that when we can do our work with a positive and, yes, magnanimous attitude, then it is at least possible that those who are worried about the still shaky economy will remember not only that you deliver results but do it in a way that suggests professionalism, confidence, and value.