Some further thoughts on PR... (or, Round 2!)

Posted on 19th May 2016 at 4:10pm by Carl Reader in Business

Following on from my last post, I thought it worth covering some more things that cropped up after writing the article. You see, I knocked the article out on an iPad whilst flying from Glasgow to Birmingham yesterday, after 26 minutes (yes, 26 minutes!) sleep. And there was me thinking that getting a fitness tracker would help me stay on top of this stuff...

First things first, some people were thankful for the post, and I detected almost some surprise at the openness. Here are the reasons why I'm willing to share what I've learned:

  1. I advise businesses. PR can help businesses.

  2. Out of every 100 people that read it, only 1 will take action;

  3. It's unlikely that the 1% will be competitors, but if they are - they would do it anyway; and

  4. It's probably all out there on Google anyway!

The next round of learnings...

So, here goes:

Don't bother chasing journalists. The amount of unread emails that they have is staggering. He will go unnamed, but I've heard a national editor mention that he has 25,000 unread emails. He still manages to fill his paper with content, and get the good stories. I'm sure that if what I've got to say is any good, it will be found. And chasing too much falls into the "don't be an arsehole" advice.

Don't expect to be told if it's going live. Some tell you, some don't. Google Alerts is pretty ropey. Get used to searching your own name on Google! Or, subscribe to an expensive clippings service.

Remember how journalists work. Don't call them, contact them in the way that they like to be contacted. To evidence this, I found this laughable Twitter exchange between an accountant (who shall remain nameless) and a journalist:

Journo: URGENT request for Sunday Times article: need accountant to explain how putting property in partnerships helps to avoid IHT #journorequest

Accountant: Please take a look at our website  and give us a call on 020 8446 8100 to arrange a meeting

Journo: haha it's a media request so my deadline is in a few hours!!!

OK - so I left the phone number in. That's the cheeky side of me coming to play... you can find them if you want to and offer them PR services... (it's all on public record anyway, and what goes on Twitter stays on Twitter!)

Understand the timings of the press. I've talked about timeliness - but it's also worth thinking about when the journalists start, when tomorrows paper is finalised, and when the week is closing for the Sunday paper.

They might look friendly, but... You may be surprised to know that Sunday Times and The Times are kind of competing with each other. The Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph aren't. Learn the media

And learn the style. We all know papers have different political leanings. They also have different house styles, different audiences, and different messages.

Interviews can throw curveballs. I wasn't expecting Paxman on BBC2, but I also wasn't expecting to be in a potentially hostile situation. Luckily it came out OK. Interviews can be with press journalists too, and often I end up questioning my own knowledge at the end of them! Journalists are great at digging into the core of what they need to know - but you also need to bear in mind that they have to be experts in thousands of different things. Don't be too hard on them if they don't know the minutiae of your industry.



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