Regardless of your politics, you have to admire Republican Party Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan. Over the course of his congressional career, Paul Ryan charted his path to power not so much inside the halls of Congress, but outside – using a lot of the tools of my trade: public relations.
Unlike his peers, Paul Ryan didn’t toil for years working up the subcommittee ranks or giving lots of PAC money to colleagues. He simply made it a priority to get his name in the media – often.
According to NPR, he’s been quoted in the The Wall Street Journal more than 100 times in the last few years. He’s been frequently featured in or interviewed by a number of high-profile magazines and newspapers that follow Washington, D.C. politics. He’s been a regular on the Sunday morning political talk show circuit for several years – and he did all of this long before speculation of his VP candidacy surfaced.
No matter how you vote or feel about the congressman from Wisconsin, PR professionals of every stripe should take note of what he did and how he did it.
He followed some basic tenants of PR:
- If you want to get quoted, take an audacious position on a popular topic and share the hell out of it
- Hone a compelling back story. People want to read about or watch people they think are interesting
- Cultivate relationships with the media, and always make yourself available to answer their calls or emails
- Give the media compelling content, and they will reward you
- If you make an announcement, be damn sure it has news value beyond what you think is newsworthy
- Have a clear and compelling set of talking points on key issues to your brand, and know them like the back of your hand
- Be gregarious with, and accessible to, the media
- Project confidence – always project confidence – when engaging the media
- Always be on message
Whether you like Paul Ryan the Man or Paul Ryan the Politician isn’t the point. If you’re in PR (or even politics for that matter) you have to admire Paul Ryan the Brand because what he did is what a lot of us work hard to do for our clients every day.