In order to successfully share the key messages of our clients, we as PR professionals need to understand the inner workings of the companies or organizations that we are representing. Good communicators are familiar with the daily life of the businesses that they represent, ensuring better and more detailed marketing for clients. By knowing our clients as well as we do, we are able to leverage opportunities as they arise.

Matt Rideout & Whitney MoreauWe must know our clients well enough to identify what is newsworthy and relevant to share. No matter what type of business you work with, having intimate knowledge of a client is invaluable whether you are writing a press release, calling donors, or sharing posts via social media.

At Marshall Communications, we take this concept seriously. We leave the office, roll up our sleeves, and dive into whatever our clients are doing in order to represent them accurately and successfully. This type of involvement with our clients has been a hallmark of Marshall Communications since its founding 20 years ago.

Back in 1991, Marshall Communications’s first year of operation, Northern Outdoors, a Maine outdoor adventure company, contracted Nancy (then, an office of one) to do their PR. Early on, participants joked that only other whitewater rafting guides really knew what their work was like. Nancy agreed, but instead of seeing this reality as a handicap to represent the guides, she turned it into a challenge.

Soon after, Nancy enrolled in a rafting guide course. In 1993, a year after having her first child, Nancy completed the course and became a certified whitewater rafting guide. While Nancy never used the certification to actually guide rafting trips, it allowed her to have a significantly deeper understanding of the type of work she was hired to represent and share with the public. Nancy encourages her employees to continue this practice, no matter what the industry.

Recently, Marshall Communications Account Coordinator Whitney Moreau and Interactive Marketing Manager Matthew Rideout paid a visit to one of our clients who is an orthopedic surgeon. While generating new materials for the client, Whitney and Matt recognized the need to become better acquainted with the business and work of the practice.

The result: Whitney and Matt donned scrubs and observed a laparoscopic knee surgery (don’t worry, they did not go so far as to help with the operation!). Taking photos and notes throughout the process, Matt and Whitney met with patients and employees at the center. The time spent experiencing the client’s work and relationships played an integral role in successfully leveraging PR opportunities for the client.

While you may not be able to participate directly with the work of each client, it is critical to learn as much about them as possible, from the overall mission and differentiating characteristics, to the smallest tasks that make up the day-to-day.

It isn’t enough to assume your client will tell you everything you need to know about them. As professionals, we have to take it upon ourselves to know our clients, or else we might fail to represent them accurately, to the best of our ability, or to notice a newsworthy opportunity to garner good PR.

Learn as much as you can about your clients. If you don’t make the effort to, how can you encourage others to do so?