As the Roman philosopher Seneca once observed, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
Like Seneca, most wise men and women quoted on the subject of luck recognize that positive outcomes have less to do with luck and more with focus and hard work. I think the same is true of successful communication programs.
Today’s sophisticated, research-driven public relations, content and social media strategies would leave our practitioner predecessors astonished. Thanks to research and preparation, the communication industry is now in an enviable position to home in on buyer personas and craft tailored strategies to reach these key audiences—a far cry from the “spray and pray” press release tactics of the past where luck played too great a role in a program’s success.
Nearly every modern communication program now kicks off with some form of market research to identify brand awareness and perception gaps. This upfront work not only creates an important benchmark to understand how communication is effectively increasing brand awareness over time but helps practitioners draw the necessary insights to ensure program strategies will consistently support important business goals. In fact, most communication industry award submission forms now ask for details on the upfront research that helped to inform and guide the program strategies.
These modern programs also take the time to identify and understand buyer personas, and craft specific strategies and message platforms to reach these audiences. Technology is the communication industry’s new BFF: by synching efforts with inbound lead generation platforms like Hubspot or analytics platforms like Google Analytics, communication pros now have the ability to draw a distinct connection to the content that’s proving most effective in driving leads or traffic to a site – and keep that content catnip coming to move a company’s prospects through the sales funnel.
Luck has likewise been stripped out of the media relations equation. While databases like Cision continue to play an important role in identifying relevant media targets for our clients’ programs, that’s just a starting point. An effective communication program now relies on a thoughtful, research-driven media list that reflects time taken to review specific reporters’ past articles to ensure we’re micro-targeting the contacts who will be most interested in a pitch, understand their perspectives and biases, and also explore other (perhaps less obvious) targets that may be relevant to pitch by crafting alternative storylines.
So on this day when we honor the “luck of the Irish” (and maybe enjoy a green beer or two) I’ll leave you with this quote from Thomas Jefferson: “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”