Recently I participated in a PR Leadership Forum in New York with a cross section of some brilliant folks across the corporate communications and agency worlds. I got insight from a handful of stellar communicators, including the Vice President of Worldwide Communications at Pfizer, Ray Kerins.

Ray shared some pretty intense scenarios from his career. Equally powerful were some simple yet sharp reminders about not losing sight of the fundamentals. In short, connect with people. Don’t just leave a voice mail, fire off a mail, or tweet some links and #tags, but really connect.

As media relations professionals, we can sometimes focus more on the media and less on the relations. This is a missed opportunity. The relationships we nurture with our clients, our colleagues, influencers and media are supremely valuable. We should not treat engagements simply as push mechanisms for story pitches. We should engage in dialogue, and this dialogue should be ongoing.

It’s not enough to pay attention or “monitor” the folks who influence you and the work of your clients. Listen. Engage. Relate. Repeat.

Talk to influencers. Talk to reporters. Visit them. Take the time. You’ll be surprised how much more authentic those relationships will be, and how much more meaningful your insights will be across the board. 

—Amy Bryson