Guru Interview

Matt Keelen – President & Founder of The Keelen Group

Matt Keelen is the Founder of The Keelen Group, a government relations firm specializing in strategic public policy and legislative planning services in Washington D.C.

The Keelen Group works with a wide range of clients, including small businesses, trade associations, Fortune 500 companies and non-profit interest groups. They partner with their clients to come up with advocacy strategies to fit their specific needs.


Why did you choose a career in PR?

I love to communicate and make a difference for my clients. One of the values that helped any of my success is the love of people.

What are your company’s core values?

Treat others well, always help others even when they cant help you. Always go to bed and be able to look yourself in the mirror knowing you have done all you can to help your clients succeed.

How has your company responded to the Covid-19 pandemic?

Not knowing how it would affect us we decided to double down right at the start of the shutdowns to work even harder for our clients. Thus we were doubling the output of many of our competitors.

What are 2-3 things about your company that differentiates you from other PR agencies?

We provide much more personalized service, like during Covid when we were able to figure out more ways for our clients to see what they needed to see in safe environments but still allowing for human face to face contact. That is always the best way to communicate. We also always try to approach our business as a business that happens to be in the PR industry and not the other way around. That allows us to help our clients bottom lines.

How would your clients summarize your company?

We make them feel like family and fight hard for them. When we say we are going to do something we do it or get bloody trying to succeed for them.

Does your company prefer to work from home or work collaboratively in an office?

We prefer to work in an office setting, meeting face to face.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced in the world of PR?

Keeping up with new technology – juggling home life with work life.

What are the biggest lessons you have learned since the start of your career?

If you don’t know the answer don’t fake it, tell that person you will get back to them with the proper info, don’t be afraid to say no.

What are the most effective strategies you use to promote your business?

Client referrals.

What has been your favorite memory working in the ecosystem?

Helping to educate people about the missing children and helping to bring some of them home.

How would you measure your success?

By retaining clients over a long period.

Describe your ideal client.

The ideal client knows what they want/need but does not have the skills internally to deliver their message.

What tips would you provide a recent college graduate seeking a career in public relations?

Be nice to everyone you meet, you never know who that person is or knows. Always be building your network

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