Adam Ritchie has walked back and forth across the U.S. three times in the past 11 years while doing PR. As of last month, he's put 9,647 miles on a treadmill desk. He takes his work to heart and when he started repping LifeSpan which makes the specialized desk, he dove right into their product.

Ritchie's goal is to walk the circumference of the Earth before retirement: 24,901 miles.

Adam Ritchie
Adam Ritchie at his treadmill desk

"It's important to take the client's product into your life to the biggest degree you possibly can," Ritchie said while walking on his treadmill during a March 14 webinar hosted by O'Dwyer's and moderated by Researchscape's Tony Cheevers.

Ritchie laments how much time PR pros spend coming up with ways to earn exposure for things that won't set the world on fire.

"As PR people, we instinctively know what products are newsworthy," Ritchie stressed. "We know if something has PR legs or not."

Ritchie's ethos is to flip the script and let PR pros come up with new products and services. One of his examples was a band enlisting a brewery to sell their album. The only way to get the music was through a Twitter hashtag on the can of the newly-created beer inspired by the band's songs. In doing so, the band side-stepped the difficulty of getting people to pay for music by connecting it to a product they’re used to paying for.

Keep your antenna up

In order to get better at being a PR inventor, Ritchie said you have to be on alert all the time. For instance, he pays close attention to Cannes Lions winners every year to know “where the bar is set.”

It's a myth that you're either a creative person or an organized person, Ritchie explained. When someone creative laments their ability to stay organized or the spreadsheet guru is convinced they can't come up with new ideas, it's a cop-out, he said.

Ritchie is a big fan of always having something to write with, even in the shower. "The shower is where you go to trade dirt for ideas," Ritchie said.

Ritchie insists that the simple fact of writing ideas down and organizing it somewhere puts it into your brain's RAM and encourages structured creativity.

Don't be afraid to take a stab at new ideas because the tension between feeling that you just came up with the greatest thing ever and then quickly flipping to doubting it is where gold comes from, Ritchie explained.

Tony Cheevers
Moderator Tony Cheevers from Researchscape

Be an author, not a storyteller

One of Ritchie's pet peeves is constant claims from PR people, marketers and advertisers that they're "storytellers."

"All of these people can't own storytelling," Ritchie said. He explained that someone has to actually write the story.

Here's his pitch to upgrade your mindset from storyteller to author: Next time you're tasked with creating an annual PR plan for a client, construct it as if it's a season of a Netflix show and your client's brand is the character. Your job is to write what the character/client will do in the world.

Ritchie's "Invention In PR" book is available in all formats (paperback, Kindle, audio):

Tweet questions to Ritchie at @fontbandit using the hashtag #InventionInPR.

Feel free to contact John O'Dwyer at [email protected] if you'd like to suggest a topic, be a panelist or are interested in sponsoring a webinar.


Leading Through Challenging Times with V2 Communications CEO Jean Serra

Empathetic Leadership Begins with Self-Deprecating Humor
Thu., Apr. 27, 2:00 - 2:45 p.m. EST
Peppercom Founder and CEO Steve Cody leads discussion on why humor is such a huge
differentiator in attracting and retaining talent and crafting compelling and unexpected stories.

Past webinars:

Leading Through Challenging Times with V2 Communications CEO Jean Serra

Leading Through Challenging Times
Jean Serra, V2 Communications CEO
Nov. 15, 2022

To Plan or Not to Plan: Strategic Planning in a Dynamic World

To Plan or Not to Plan: Strategic Planning in a Dynamic World
Monique Waters, H2O Strategies Founder
Tina Charpentiar, EVP, Padilla
Oct. 18, 2022

Overcoming Toxic Culture: Everyday Practices That Make a Difference

Overcoming Toxic Culture: Everyday Practices That Make a Difference
Dr. Kerry O’Grady, Faculty Director and Associate Professor of Practice, Georgetown University
Sep. 20, 2022

Business Development for PR Agencies

Business Development for PR Agencies
Karen Swim, President, Words for Hire
Vanessa Horwell, Chief Strategy Officer, ThinkInk
John Vernon, Sr. Business Development Mgr., PAN Communications
Apr. 21, 2022