The Christmas decorations have been on the shelves since Halloween, but now that Thanksgiving has passed, we’re in full-blown, end of the year holiday mode, filled with cheer, family time and resolutions.
And although I would love to segue to the next holiday, it’s still just a bit early to move past Thanksgiving, especially when we have so much to learn from the infamous task of carving the turkey.
So what are the takeaways from carving a turkey? Well, similar to PR, carving the turkey is the "main event" of the day. If the turkey is a mess, chopped into unappetizing pieces and not presented well, the main event is ruined. Same goes for public relations. PR manages the way brands are presented; the minute that positive presentation falls apart, your brand falls apart.
So, whether you were in charge of carving the turkey, or you just enjoyed the benefits of it, here are a few things you can take away from the tedious, yet extremely important task:
Preparation is everything: When you carve a turkey, you can’t just pull it out of the fridge/freezer and start carving away. You need to roast the bird, let it sit at room temperature, transfer it to a carving board, etc. In PR, when you’re writing a pitch or a press release, you cannot begin the process blind. You must do your research, have a plan, know your goal, and know who your audience/media target is. Without that preparation, your pitch or press release will fall short of fabulous!
Take care of the legs: Once your turkey is ready to be carved, it’s time to take care of the legs/wings. They must be removed before any other part of the turkey can be carved. When you’re writing any piece of content in PR, you must take care of the heavy lifting first. Getting that overall structure and answering the question, “Why should anyone care,” is first and foremost, and will make your writing more efficient.
Take out the fluff: After you remove the drumsticks, it’s time to take out the stuffing. When you’re going through your last round of edits on a pitch, press release, or media alert it’s important to remember that reporters and media experts don’t want to read the fluff, so take it out! Only keep the information that adds to the overall “story”; the rest is not necessary. It’s sometimes difficult to keep the skin intact when you’re taking out the stuffing. Remember to keep your overall structure, that’s what holds your press release or pitch together.
Slice it up: Once the turkey is prepped, it’s time to cut up the meat. The way you present content is everything! If your pitch or release has heavy bulks of content, break up your paragraphs, add a bulleted list, and bold important items. It’ll help make your content more digestible.
Separate your meat: Remember your audience. Some people like the dark meat, some people like the light meat, and some people like the drumsticks. Keep your audience in mind and remember that media in each outlet is different. A radio producer will not want the same information that a TV producer will want. Separate your audiences and you’ll be able to target each in the most efficient way.
P.S. Just because you carved the turkey, doesn’t mean you can control how it gets placed on the table. In PR, you can present your brand in the best way possible, and do all the prep necessary, but how reporters and the media choose to spin that information, is out of your control. That’s why it’s important to monitor your coverage, and remain professional when dealing with the media in order to maintain those positive relationships.