By Lou Carlozo
I hope you’re enjoying the Qwoted 100 series of stars in PR as much as I do putting it together. As mentioned in a previous piece, best practices aren’t a given you can learn in a YouTube video. In fact, they’re expensive on both sides: that is, the years PR pros take to lean and master them, and the amount you could well pay to have a PR leader teach a seminar at any media relations shop.
My mission as Qwoted’s Editor in Chief, and a continued mission on the site, is to take the best information we can find and share it with the world. That makes the media landscape a better place, especially at a time when labels like “fake news” are misapplied to real news, or some in PR embellish to the point of myth making instead of truth telling. Nothing wrong with a little spin, mind you — but not when it obfuscates and deceives. Reporters know: That so-called “expert” may be no expert at all, their data a trick of the light instead of enlightening.
And so, it’s time to introduce Zachary Harris, an account supervisor at Prosek Partners in New York City. Harris has a refreshing directness where often, he communicates powerful concepts in just a few precious words. Read on (and take notes), you’ll see what I mean.
Harris operates across the same sectors that inform my financial services podcast, Bankadelic. Those include banking, payments, enterprise technology, SaaS, ESG, carbon offsetting, environmental law, professional services and private markets. He’s a go-to guy, believe us.
And so, let’s look at all the ways Zach has your back and plans the attack.
Qwoted: What do you see as the future of PR—technologically, strategically, or in any category you’re passionate about?
Zachary Harris: ESG will be a factor that defines the future of PR. ESG is not something organizations can casually support. It’s a critical criteria for a diversity of stakeholders. Demonstrating an actionable commitment is essential and will only grow in importance.
Qwoted: What do you think you do that other PRs could learn from?
Harris: Make an effort to get to know reporters. Invite them to coffee, congratulate them on a new job or a work anniversary, or send them your thoughts on an article they wrote without any strings attached. At the end of the day, we’re all just people.
Qwoted: What’s your toughest challenge with reporters?
Harris: Bandwidth! The news cycle is moving faster and faster every year. PR professionals will increasingly be asked to find new ways to break through the clutter on behalf of their clients.
Qwoted: How do you approach breaking through that bandwidth blockage to get effective coverage?
Harris: Respect reporters’ work. Demonstrate that you’ve invested the time to read and understand their areas of focus before you reach out. A crisis environment can encourage fewer steps but in the majority of situations, sincerity, relevance and respect count the most.
Qwoted: How does PR in 2022 square with the future of journalism?
Harris: By amplifying accuracy. It can be difficult to pinpoint truth today — but that’s exactly what journalists and PR professionals want.
Qwoted: What advice would you give to those seeking to find an effective PR person?
Harris: Ask them what the news of the day is and how it’s relevant to your business. As PR professionals, it’s our duty to interpret the landscape and see around corners.
Qwoted: What is your golden rule of PR?
Harris: Answer first, explain second.
Qwoted: Any parting thoughts?
Harris: Never forget the importance of measuring success!