PR Lessons from Jack Bauer

12 May PR Lessons from Jack Bauer

The countdown is finally over and as of last Monday, Jack, Chloe and the rest of the 24 team are finally back in action.

While its clear to anyone who watches the show that Jack Bauer does not always put his best message forward or frankly, give a damn about PR, there are still applicable lessons to be learned from how our hero Jack handles his day-to-day life.

  • Break down your day in hour-long increments

Each episode of 24 is in real time, with each hour-long show representing an hour of Jack Bauer’s life (over a 24 hour period of time). If you have ever thought it’s hard to get anything done in a mere 24 hours, you clearly have never lived a day in Jack’s shoes.

Regardless of whether or not you need to bill your time, breaking down your day helps you to stay organized and get more accomplished. Having a set plan for what needs to get done when not only helps clearly outline your to-do list, but also eliminates the risk of something slipping between the cracks.

Planning out your day is a good time management technique in general but will also help in avoiding distraction. If a two-hour block is sectioned out for drafting a press release, you are much less likely to spend a half hour of that checking the news on Twitter.

  • Never start a mission without good ‘intel’

Before beginning any mission, Jack has a team providing him real-time insight and information so he can adjust his strategy accordingly. Jack never goes in to a challenging situation blind, and neither should you.

Research is key to any successful media placement or campaign. Know your audience, the reporters (and what exactly they cover!) and what the end goals are. The more information you have from the get-go, the more successful you are bound to be.

While something like researching every reporter that is covering the space might seem tedious, the more information you have at your disposal, the better. Some of the most successful pitches we have had at SpeakerBox start as replies to an article a reporter has already written. By proving that you are informed and offering up a story that is in their wheelhouse, it will almost always garner a response or at least appreciation from the reporter that you took the time to determine their interests.

  • Keep calm when a crisis strikes

One of the reasons Jack is so successful is his ability to stay calm and collected regardless of the situation. No matter if there is a gun pointed at his head or a bomb set to go off in 15 seconds that must be dismantled, Jack keeps his cool, thinking rationally and strategically.

While we never want any of our clients to have to deal with a crisis – inevitably it will happen. And when it does, staying calm is the best way PR practitioners can provide valuable guidance to best help our clients in their time of need.

Next time disaster strikes, take a few minutes to gather your thoughts and think through all possible angles. Keep emotion out of the equation and concentrate on making sure the correct people are informed and that all information and details are known – and quickly. Being able to put a plan in place in a timely manner will help you stay in front of the problem and answer questions before media or stakeholders have a chance to ask them.

Chances are your client is going to be in panic-mode, so it is up to the PR experts to keep calm and provide strategic counsel on the issue.

Kathryn Kaplan
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