3 lessons PR professionals can learn from Halloween movies

Yes, the bad guy triumphs in Halloween horror films. He’s thought of everything, knows how to do evil in 50 ways. But don’t set up your clients to fail by promising reporters they’re experts in everything.

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At my firm, Media & Communications Strategies, we stress to clients not to get tricked or spooked during a media engagement, speech, or any other external communication. As former journalists, many of us have learned tricks of the trade, and this Halloween we’ve served up three lessons from classic Halloween movies that apply to communications professionals and their clients: 1. “The Nightmare Before Christmas “—There are many takeaways from this classic; the main one for PR pros is that they must home in on publicizing particular skills of their clients. Don’t try to make them expert in everything. In this Tim Burton tale, Jack the Skeleton, successful as the leader of Halloween for many years, decides to take on Christmas as well. He makes a shambles of the Nativity.

The same thing can happen for PR reps pitching clients for stories. The media get pelted by pitches, so you must focus on what makes your client special, what new angle they bring to the piece.

Occasionally, our team works with a person who wants to brand herself as an expert in her field. Regardless of her profession, we conduct media training with her right away to find out what differentiates her from others in her industry. We then can offer unique angles to the media.

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