Agony Aunt Jackie Elliot on LinkedIn, investment, and winning awards

| 12/08/2015 | 0 Comments

Jackie Elliot, chairman at Cathcart Consulting, answers questions ranging from accepting connections on LinkedIn to dealing with embarrassing client related situations


The right way to link up

What is the rule on who to accept or approach with regards to LinkedIn?
In a recent PRWeek ‘Seeing Red’, Karen Triggs asked for the human touch to be applied to LinkedIn req­uests. She’s right. Here is a point of view from LinkedIn’s CEO himself, Jeff Weiner, whom I met some months ago. He suggested that we should always be happy to introduce any of our own connections to each other – and their connections. In other words, only link up with people you are absolutely comfortable with introducing to others. If you haven’t met them, if you have no existing relationship at all, how can you judge that? Having been introduced to Jeff (he is great, by the way) I wrote later asking if we could link up and reminding him where we had met: he accepted.


Investment in innovation

We’d like to develop new areas of PR practice. We’re prepared to invest and we have smart people. What do you think might be most productive?
I’m interested in the opportunity that the growth of ad blocking software presents for all of us. Intrusive and irrelevant advertising is increasingly being blocked on websites and apps on all devices. The Economist notes that “some [web publishers] are switching to a subtler means of advertising, such as promotional articles written in a similar style to the site’s editorial content”. That sounds right on the money for us. But what is the scope of the opp­ortunity? What services could be developed? Or what is the right point of entry? How will you test? Is editorial by algo­rithm really possible? If you can develop answers to the above, you could take the lead in a rapidly growing market.


How to be a winner

Yet again we have failed to be shortlisted for a PRWeek Award. I know our work is outstanding and at least two entries deserved to win, let alone to be shortlisted. What aren’t we doing right?
Disheartening, isn’t it? Trust me – we have all been there. Although sometimes when you are shortlisted and don’t win, it’s nicer to have taken the pain early. But assuming your work is great, here are your Agony Aunt’s personal views on how to get your hands on the prize.

Make sure your entry will stand out from the 100s that the judges look at. If great work looks and sounds prosaic, it will never achieve recognition. Treat the whole entry process like a new business pitch. Manage your reputation as though you are an award winner all year long. When judging, it is difficult to be as positive towards an unknown organisation as to one known for a whole body of work.

Be active on industry committees and go to PRWeek events to get yourselves positively talked about. Make sure that you, or one of your directors, have experience as a judge of all the major professional awards. Once you see how to deliver a winning entry, you will never again submit a closely typed page of A4 with a mound of press cuttings.


The curse of the summer cup

Too much of a certain fruity seasonal cup at the agency’s summer party resulted in a slightly amorous situation with a client. I am mortified and embarrassed. What can I do?
Pick up the phone and apologise. Don’t send an email or pretend nothing happened. Tell your boss and say you have apologised. And stop drinking.


By Jackie Elliot

Source: PR Week

Category: Editorial

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