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“If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”

Those are the now-famous words of advertising guru Don Draper in the award-winning “Mad Men” TV series. And they hold a special meaning for practitioners across today’s PR landscape too. Specifically, there is a rhyme and reason to inserting one’s self into a story that helps elevate a message — even if it’s in reaction to something that has already been reported.

Reporters rarely want to recycle what’s already been shared with readers, viewers or listeners. But a dissenting opinion from a credible source is something that should always pique one’s interest. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of speaking up.

Every day we see headlines that by their very existence constitute news. But what if there’s a point of view that is missing from that very big story? Queue the response, please.

That marks a perfect time to issue statements to the media, reach out to reporter/s with reactions to recent stories, or even submit a guest column in one’s own words for a publication’s consideration.

The op-ed page is a wonderful tool for an important voice to do the extraordinary and say: “Here’s what I think.”

A perfect example is taking national news – like when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics regularly issues the country’s jobs report — and putting it in perspective for a very specific labor group. That’s exactly what BizCom client Mike Bidwell, CEO of The Dwyer Group, did in his guest column for the Waco Tribune-Herald. In particular, Mike put the spotlight on “dirty jobs.”

Mike used this timely coincidence to call out famous tech gurus like Bill Gates, Mark Cuban and Elon Musk for recent news coverage of how technology and the rise of robots will displace countless workers. When the media sounded the alarm, that’s exactly when Mike spoke out to put things in perspective.

“I have one thing to say about that: Send them to me,” Mike wrote about the wave of unemployed workers on the horizon. Nothing is wrong with technological advances displacing workers. Mike just decided to change the conversation. While others talk about where jobs are fading, Mike decided to talk about where jobs are growing.

The new conversation: Job growth in the service trades deserves respect.

Along the way, Mike also brought a vital point of view to the conversation. These jobs deserve respect. While elevating a message about blue-collar work creating jobs, paying a decent wage, and rising in demand – he urged society at-large to hold these people and the jobs that do in high regard.

Mike said, “…we need to respect them, as they do in Germany where working in a skilled trade is not only valued but admired. In many cases, they earn annual incomes in excess of those working white-collar jobs with a four-year degree.”

Many are joining to help change the conversation too. Dwyer Group Co-Chair Dina Dwyer-Owens did in her blog “Let’s Value People Who Do Dirty Jobs”. #KeepCraftAlive ran Mike’s column verbatim as well. And the International Franchise Association shared the op-ed in its SmartBrief email to members. Here’s to proactive PR, positive publicity, and a new discussion that continues to take shape.

We cannot live without our plumbers, air conditioning service technicians, electricians and more. And readers are taking notice.

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