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by Frank Strong

Lagniappe.  I can’t remember who first introduced me to the word, but it’s been siting in my “idea” folder for several months now.

According to Wikipedia, lagniappe (lan-yap) “is a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase.  Think a baker’s dozen.

To me, lagniappe represents the idea of doing more than is expected.  In military parlance, the cliche is “exceeding the standard” or “going above and beyond.”

In business, it has other applications.  A PR pro that stays a little later to read up on a reporter and send a relevant pitch, or responding to one more comment.  A customer service representative that goes beyond just solving a problem and helps a customer derive more value. The sales person that links up two customers that have like minds and can help each other out.

Lagniappe isn’t a noun, it’s a verb, or better yet it’s a state of mind, or a philosophy.  This is especially relevant for PR pros, because PR isn’t a profession, it’s a lifestyle.

Our day doesn’t end when content is published, usually, that’s just the beginning.  We have to master more and more skills to stay relevant; add to the list:  digital, video, multimedia, SEO, analytics, content marketing, social, and so on. Each of these functions touch on core skills PR pros ought to already have — but each one challenges us to go a little further.

We have to know more about a topic than the person we are pitching.  We have to be competent enough to answer hard questions.  We have soak up knowledge knowing that we are forever students, not experts.  We have to be inspired, not feel burdened, by such demands.

It requires lagniappe.

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