Most people would probably agree that part of successful public relations is the ability to recognize PR opportunities as they occur. In other words, how quickly can you respond to the news?
But there may be an even more valuable attribute: the ability to anticipate the news. We tip our hat for this suggestion to Chicago Tribune columnist John McCarron who led a recent workshop (Writing to Make News) for Community Media Workshop in Chicago.
Anticipating events is not about being clairvoyant, but about thinking ahead as to how events in the future will play out based on what's already known. For instance, knowing when a key anniversary will take place (this September 11th will mark the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks) will help you anticipate whether to issue a press release and what it will say.
Knowing when a key vote in the legislature will take place, when a new report is coming out or when a new study is being released can give you a head start on deciding what your "reaction" will be. Call it a "preaction."
We gave similar advice in an earlier post about your own calendar of events. PR isn't always about how to respond. It can often be about how to prespond.