Ken Sunshine is one of the superstars of PR. His client roster includes celebrities such as Ben Affleck, Barbra Streisand, Jon Bon Jovi, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Moore, and Justin Timberlake and non-profits like the Natural Resources Defense Council, Calvary Hospital, and the New York Organ Donor Network.
Sunshine recently gave an interview to MediaBistro.com about his career and how he goes about working with clients. Here are some of his tips on building your PR client base:
- Work on what interests you, and don't be so corporate. Fight the companies who are exploiting people and polluting the environment.
- The worst thing you can do is to complain to your clients about the media.Take the time to counsel your clients and tell them why something is not working.
- Be knowledgeable. The journalists you're pitching will respect you.
- If you're starting an agency, don't bother with a cattle call approach to new business pitches. Focus on the areas you know, and aspire to earn the respect of the people you want to work with.
- Be passionate. It will help your career. Go with the underdog.
What are your methods for dealing with the media? We always joke at the firm that the press is always right. There will always be a next time. Sometimes you have to go toe-to-toe with them but I know how to pick my [battles]. That's the difference.
There's an approach [that falls between] between kissing ass and getting angry. Our people know their stuff and work hard to temper negative coverage, rather than get mad. The media won't respect you if you lose it too often.