Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas
3 min read September 2021 — A career path is almost never linear, and oftentimes is filled with unexpected changes. In his discussion with Invest:, Glen Calder, CEO of Summit Public Relations, spoke about how his own path unexpectedly led him to an ongoing 25-year career in public relations. He also detailed what defines a successful media campaign in today’s climate, as well as the importance of collaboration across an organization’s different departments.
What initially brought you into Public Relations space?
I had just finished working in New York for the nationally syndicated show Inside Edition and had come back to Florida looking to continue my career in TV media. However, during my search someone recommended an opening with a public relations firm. All I knew about PR was that I didn’t have very positive experiences with publicists, meaning they simply didn’t provide me with much help. With much hesitation and need for money, I accepted what I thought would be a short-lived position. That part-time job turned into a 25-year career, so far, and I fell in love with the story-telling aspect of it. Plus when you handle so many different types of clients all seeking different things everyday is different, challenging and rewarding.
How would define a successful media campaign in today’s climate?
Regardless of the climate, the definition of a successful media campaign is two things: did your client achieve the desired exposure, and did the media benefit from an interesting or important story? We all know that clients pay the bills, but never forget the fact that you should consider the media as your client too. If you keep sending the media boring and hard-to-tell stories, they’ll have no interest in reading your future pitches. However, if you can make a reporter’s job easier by organizing an interesting story for them, then more than likely they will be thrilled to work for you in the future.
What entails developing relationships in the digital world to ensure the companies you work for are getting the exposure they want?
As important as it is to have great contacts and relationships, it is more important to be a great storyteller. That way you can pitch any reporter or influencer in the world and get their interest. If you are sending your great contacts terrible story ideas then they won’t be your great contacts for long. When pitching a new market or industry, work the angle backwards. Do your research and find out what would be meaningful for the media outlet and its audience, and then try to find that key angle for your client.
In the age of influencers, what is the key to keeping traditional PR competitive?
Regardless of whether you are working with influencers or media outlets, their goal is the same and that is to provide their audience with interesting content. Influencers have loyal followers and can be amazing to work with. If you can tap into what sort of content they are looking for then you can be successful. The need for traditional PR is not going away, it’s just changing as the need for content is as important as ever. The traditional reporter however is busier than ever because of downsizing. This means if you can help map out a great story for the reporters then they will greatly appreciate you.
What is the biggest challenge you face in accomplishing your mission?
We are lucky because we have an incredible roster of different clients with so many great stories to tell. That’s the challenge. How do you juggle so many great stories? Timing is everything. Anticipating what the media is looking for is key, and always make your story and pitch unique and different from what every other publicist is pitching. Remember that the key word in news is “New”!
How important is collaboration with other departments, like marketing and communications, in making sure a brand or company is front and center for consumers or clients?
We are all in communications, so let’s communicate with everyone. From the marketing department to the social media team, we should all be on the same page with our story ideas. Plus, they might have some great insight into what could be the next great story about your client. Remember that media stories are gold to the marketing and social media teams, as media coverage is that third-party credibility that can move your client’s needle!
For more information, visit: