RuPaul – pop culture icon, glamazon and original Supermodel of the World – is my PR inspiration, and he should be yours too.
When it comes to the value of self-publicity, there is nothing that anyone can tell RuPaul Charles. Early in his career, RuPaul could be found distributing posters of himself emblazoned with the words, ‘RuPaul is Everything’, and a decade or so later, that sentiment is echoed by millions.
Credited with taking drag culture mainstream, RuPaul, and his cult show RuPaul’s Drag Race, was last week nominated for a whopping seven Emmys, the latest in a long line of outstanding achievements. This success belongs to nobody but the man himself, whose unshakeable conviction in his brand and constant reinvention has elevated him from underground sensation to bona fide A-lister.
So, what can we lesser contoured mortals learn from Mama Ru? Below are five RuPaul gems to apply to your PR strategy.
1) ‘Life is about using the whole box of crayons’
In the digital era of PR, there’s no excuse for relying on a lone press release to get your message out. Every campaign should be colourful and creative, and each asset – whether that’s social media, video, or a unique brand personality – should be leveraged.
2) ‘Don’t be throwin’ no shade’
Shade, for the uninitiated, is subtly undermining your target – and it has no place in successful PR. Whilst it may be tempting to call out that rival brand on their not-so-accurate product claims, it really only harms the reputation of you and your client. Equally, if you’ve got a difficult journalist on the phone, mind your manners, you’ll catch more content with honey than vinegar.
3) ‘If you wanna be invited to the party, you must have something to bring’
While we’re on the subject of journalists, it’s vital to assess the relevance of what you’re offering. To spark the interest of an in-demand editor, you’ve got to bring something newsworthy, innovative and, ultimately, valuable to the party, or you’ll end up on the outside, looking in.
4) ‘When the going gets tough, the tough reinvent.’
From time to time, especially with a long-standing client, you might find yourself stuck in a content rut. The standard routine becomes stale, and you notice a drop in coverage. Well, when the sell-ins get tough, the tough up their game. That could be a strategy overhaul or a frank conversation with the client about reinvigorating the brand, but either way, reinvention is the key to longevity.
5) ‘You better work’
No PR really needs reminding of this, but when you’re neck-deep in projects, it’s worth remembering that no true success story began without hard work. RuPaul did not get to the top of his game without graft, occasional failures, and a lot of very long days, and neither can you.
PR inspiration is everywhere – and whether you’re a Drag Race superfan or not – RuPaul Charles is not a bad place to start.