Recently, Metis Co-Founder Cathy Caldeira was quoted in a Fox Business profile with fellow Co-Founder Courtney Hurst. “If your worst thing is that you're too aggressive,” said Cathy, “then that's not a bad thing.” As any entrepreneur working in a competitive industry can tell you, the sentiment is hard to argue.
In the nonstop world of public relations, each day is a battle for the attention of others: your target audience, the reporters on whom you rely to reach that audience, even at times your own team, who have plenty of other pressing issues about which to worry. Your goal is to spread word of your team's accomplishments, but given the finite nature of attention, it's a constant contest to engage others and relay your message as effectively as possible.
To that end, aggression becomes practically indispensable, particularly when you're trying to reach a reporter whose phone hasn't stopped ringing since 1998, or a journalist who receives hundreds of emails a day. If you're not willing to be persistent, and yes, even aggressive when you know you have the right story at the right time, you stand a poor chance of having your voice heard.
Of course, as with anything, moderation is essential. There's an important distinction between persistence and harassment, for example, but ultimately it comes down to knowing your audience and being confident in your ability to balance determination with tact and courtesy. Cathy advises Fox Business readers to trust their guts. In public relations, aggression is confidence, believing enough in yourself and the story to know that when you do capture your target's attention, he'll want to listen.