PR Lessons From Las Vegas

July 3, 2018

PR Lessons From Las Vegas

Anyone who has been to Las Vegas (or seen the Hangover) knows that the strip is filled with glitzy hotels, casinos, amphitheaters and enough entertainment to provide even the biggest thrill-seeker with everything they could want. It’s also full of life lessons, including a few that relate to PR.


Las Vegas, a city known for risk, that often comes with very little promise of reward, in many ways serves as a metaphor for a day in the life of a PR practitioner. From the minute you step off the plane, you are tempted by buzzing slot machines, high-priced drinks, and yes, even ladies of the night.


While it might be stretch to compare what we as PR practitioners do on a daily basis to a night out in Vegas (although, it’s equally enjoyable), there are some parallels.


1) Risk vs. Reward

  • We often hear the adage, “nothing ventured, nothing gained,” – while this is applicable to the roulette table, it’s also appropriate when discussing PR. For every interview set-up, tweet posted, press release distributed, there will always be an upside and a downside.
  • When setting up an interview with a reporter who has been known to pose challenging questions, or worse, editorialize, it’s important to do a cost-benefit-analysis before agreeing to the opportunity. Just as you would only place the purple chip ($500) on 22 black after assessing the odds of winning, it’s imperative as PR practitioners that we’re always weighing the chances of positive coverage vs. potential pitfalls that could come along with an interview. The lesson here: do your homework on the reporter and outlet to minimize risk.


2) Pick Your Spots

  • All table games are not created equal; nor are media opportunities. In fact, some aren’t even worth your client’s time. Some clientele just want coverage, any coverage at all… For the more discerning client, it’s important that you put your time, energy, and their money into the opportunities that will be the best chance for a return on their investment.
  • Just because an opportunity is available to you doesn’t mean you should take it. Does it look too good to be true? Probably is. Just like some deals in Vegas seem great at the surface, the same rings true with media opportunities. If someone seems a little too interested in interviewing your client, there’s probably a catch (pay-to-play). If Vegas teaches you anything, it’s to look before you leap and make sure you have all the information before you take the plunge.


3) Know When to Walk Away (or change strategies)

  • As I was walking through the casino floor, I couldn’t help notice the amount of times that people sat at the same table, continuing to lose. I’m not talking about the ebbs and flows of gambling; these people just could not hit a bet. Why were they not walking away, or trying a new strategy?
  • In PR we can fall into the same traps. We have a tendency to get so focused on a particular outlet, reporter, or angle that we’re going out with, that we can become blinded to other strategies to achieve our objectives. The lesson here: if one tactic isn’t working – know when to pivot before it’s too late.


Vegas isn’t for the faint of heart, and neither is PR, but with the proper discipline and right work ethic, anyone can be a winner!

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