Does the dog-eat-dog race that’s too often journalism give PR professionals an excuse to follow suit? Not if you’re Ryan McCormick, our latest Qwoted 100 PR superstar and Co-Founder of Goldman McCormick Public Relations in New York City.
McCormick goes so far in this interview as to name-check colleagues at other firms with high praises — “most ethical” and “brilliant” among them. Here he talks about his shoot-straight philosophy of PR and how the profession needs to track the sea changes upending journalism in the year ahead.
By the way: Watch out for McCormick on Vice TV’s new series “Nine Lives Of,” which airs this month. Here is a commercial for it. (You can catch Ryan at the 36-second mark.)
Qwoted: What do you see as the future of PR—technologically, strategically, or in any category you’re passionate about?
Ryan McCormick: In the future, I see PR becoming a more challenging and immersive profession. I don’t think AI is going to take over our industry because for skilled professionals, PR is much more than media hits. It’s psychology, personal development, crisis communications, advocacy, and helping those you work for to fulfill their dream. No algorithm can do that.
Qwoted: What do you do that other PRs could learn from?
McCormick: I don’t see other PR professionals as competition – I see them as potential collaborators and terrific assets. Several publicists share the same core values and ethics we do but have different skills and established press contacts. If we don’t have a requested expert in our roster and we can help a reporter out by connecting them with someone who does, we’re helping two people at the same time. I think collaboration is good business.
There always comes a time when you need to put a crucial win on the board for a key client and having an extra set of eyes scoping the field for you can be a huge asset. Also, I would say that it’s great to seek out and learn from other PR professionals whom you respect. Goldman McCormick PR Co-Founder Mark Goldman is the best publicist I’ve ever worked with. He’s tenacious, innovative and creative. Mark’s daily goals are to pay someone a genuine compliment and to make someone laugh.
Steve Allen and Mara Quigley (founders of Steve Allen Media) are the most ethical PR Pros I’ve ever known. I’ve also learned a lot from Jacquie Jordan and my dear friend & PR mentor Michael Levine (please check out some of his brilliant books about PR and marketing).
One last thing is that our firm always picks up the phone. It sounds simple, right? We can’t tell you how many times we’ve been complimented for taking calls as apparently a lot of people don’t do this anymore (they just prefer emails or texts). You can cover a lot in two minutes over the phone and it’s more personal.
Qwoted: What’s your toughest challenge with reporters?
McCormick: Captivating their attention knowing that they have a thousand other emails in their inbox.
Qwoted: How do you approach breaking through the noise floor to get effective coverage?
McCormick: I always try to make my communication with reporters and producers short, interesting, timely, and to the point.
Qwoted: How does PR in 2024 square with the future of journalism?
McCormick: I see more of a fundamental, dramatic change occurring in journalism (especially through the next five years) than PR. I see a lot of terrific things on the horizon in our industry. There is so much service that a skilled and ethical PR pro can offer today and that will only expand in the future.
Qwoted: What advice would you give to those seeking an effective PR person?
McCormick: I would recommend reaching out to companies and individuals that have been represented by that PR person or firm they worked for. Ask about their experience and whether that person met or exceeded expectations. Most importantly, find out if that individual is ethical and shares the same values that you do.
Qwoted: What is your golden rule of PR?
McCormick: Always provide value and service to your clients and media professionals. Also, help as many people as you can.
Qwoted: Anything else to add?
McCormick: I’m always interested in meeting, learning from, and working with other PR professionals. If these answers resonate with you, I hope you’ll reach out.
February 14, 2023