​As an intern at SM&, every day is a learning experience filled with new information, new ideas and new opportunities that are opening my eyes to the PR field. Last week I had the chance to attend an event held by the Boston chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) on Integrated Marketing Communications. Panelists discussed tricks of the trade that we as PR professionals can leverage for our clients. The biggest takeaway from the panel was the concept of getting “back to basics.” Today, everyone is trying to come up with the next big idea, service or product. While these advancements are necessary and exciting, it is important to remember communicating and marketing these new ideas, products and services relies on basic fundamentals of PR and Marketing. With that, here are the three “back to basics” tips that every professional in the public relations industry should be practicing: First: READ, READ, READ! The most basic and effective tool a PR professional can have is knowledge of their client's industry. In order to come up with those interesting angles to pitch, you must be an expert in what has already been written, who the big players are, what are the new trends and the history of the industry. For instance, at SM& we spend time everyday monitoring recent news in various industries, staying one step ahead to provide the best services and ideas to our clients. Second: Communicate. This seems to be a very obvious tip for those in journalism, PR and marketing. However, when clients are caught-up in the excitement of a new product or service, they often forget to communicate with internal and external teams. As PR professionals, it is important to be present in meetings, phone calls and emails early in the product/service development, to allow the teams to work together to create stories, strategize releases and plan for the best results. Third: Create “Drumbeats and Guitar Solos.” Most clients want as much positive exposure as possible, even during periods with no new developments or announcements. Panelists offered the idea of a “drumbeat” tactic that consists of pitches that are more routine. These are everyday announcements that grab a reader's attention, but might not be feature article. In contrast, “Guitar Solos” are used when there is a new release of a service, product line, name change, or campaign that rises above every day announcements. The objective of these solos is to make the client shine. There needs to be a play-by-play strategy for this announcement and an execution to ensure maximum exposure. Compared to “drumbeat” news, “guitar solos” require a more aggressive, high volume, fully integrated strategy to give the client the absolute best results possible. By Caitlin Culver, Co-op at Solomon McCown & Company