Marie Gentile, director of communications at The New York Academy of Sciences, joined Momentum for our inaugural Lunch & Learn, a monthly series of events connecting leaders in communications, nonprofit and media with the agency team. Marie focused on two elements crucial to PR agency success: understand your client’s perspective and know your client’s industry.

Marie stressed the importance of understanding the fundamentals of what the client stands for and looks to accomplish. Ascertaining the why is also important. Each client should feel as if they are the one and only. Make sure they hear from you often, send emails flagging important stories related to their business, and help the in-house communications team as much as you can.

Understanding the industry is just as important as understanding the client. Take an education non-profit in New York City as an example. Understanding the education realm is crucial. What’s new in policy? Has Betsy DeVos announced a new bill? If so, how will that impact the client?

Join associations related to your client’s business to learn more. For an education nonprofit, perhaps join the National Education Association, or attend events hosted by the Education Writer’s Association.  Who you know is important, but what you know will always serve you well.