OPEN LETTER TO PR'S: If you’re not making every effort to over-deliver, are you really doing your job?


I remember early on in my media career being given the advice to ‘under-promise’ and ‘over-deliver’ – to make sure that the results I secured for clients were always above and beyond the expectations I set for them.

But – I’m calling it – the day of ‘under-promising’ is over, and it’s all thanks to media globalisation. And frankly? I’m all for it.

Our media and PR industries, traditionally and digitally, are now more transparent than ever, and clients thankfully have clearer expectations about the outcomes that can be achieved through consultants and agencies.  

The playing field is now level – it’s almost impossible for anyone to ‘under-promise’ because expectations from media investment are high, and they are justified, based on the history and success of our industry.

It’s crucial that we, as professionals in our industry, aren’t misleading – and that we ‘precisely-promise’ based on media and PR trends internationally, and personal experience. Our predictions for ROI should be true, honest, precise and based on real results. 

But does precisely-promising mean we should settle for simply meeting the benchmark? Should we only work to the point where our results become equal to the promises and expectations we set?

Honestly? No. I believe if we’re not making every effort to over-deliver, we’re not really doing our job at all. 

Working to over-deliver is one of the most important attributes anyone working in the media or PR industry can have – despite the benchmark of any promise. It should be one of the highest values we set for ourselves, in every project and task we undertake.

Working to deliver more than what is expected is what sets us apart from the competition – it’s what drives a sense of achievement, satisfaction and personal fulfilment in our work. Going above and beyond is a value that can (and should) be applied to every aspect of our everyday working life.

When we settle for average – we can lose the spark that drives us to achieve something special. That spark is what helps us discover new possibilities, new angles for stories, benchmarking metrics that haven’t been seen before, hitting new records for media mentions and finding new opportunities for spectacular client media wins. 

When I’ve been tempted to slow the PR pace after I meet expectations and deliver on a brief – I take the time to step back and ask myself why. Because that very act – simply working to deliver equal to what is expected – is not why I started out in media and PR at all.

If I’m not working hard to achieve more than what is expected or promised – I honestly don’t believe I’m providing the full worth, value and return on media investment. I am not giving my best.

Many of us in the media and PR industry need to take a step back. Are we downing tools when we meet expectations and missing opportunities to push harder, deliver greater and achieve more? Should we be striving to execute more than average?

Isn’t excellence, and making every effort to over-deliver what our industry should be about? 

Katie Clift

Director | Katie Clift Consulting Pty Ltd | International PR Expert 

Follow me via @katieclift or for more #PRProTips on local & international PR every week!

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Katie Clift