All too often in the PR industry we forget about images. Sometimes a photo like the one above can have a far greater impact than any copy could ever wish to have.
Media monitoring is a constant issue within all PR agencies. There are a variety of companies that offer this service both on and offline and although some are better than others, unfortunately I have never found one that I would swear by. We always use Google alerts as a backup but we have also started using another free service which I have to say that I am impressed by.
Press monitoring service Press Index has launched a free online media monitoring service called Pickanews. It is totally free of charge and alerts you if any of your clients or competitors has been mentioned in print, blogs, websites or even on the TV/radio. I have been using the service for the past few months and I have to say that I am impressed.
It works on the same premise of Google alerts, where you simply input the words you want to monitor the media for and the frequency that you would like to receive alerts. Easy as that, and an excellent service.
Let me know what you think.
I have been reading a book about the life of Hunter S Thompson over the past few weeks and in it friends of his explain that he would literally type out passages from books by authors that he admired. Why? To feel what it was like to have “written” them.
What a load of rubbish I hear you cry. I disagree.
From a PR perspective it is important to have the ability to write in a number of different styles and audiences. One of my golden rules for anyone writing a press release is to read the number one target for where you would like to place that release and draft the copy in the style of that title.
If you can understand how that publication writes you can produce copy that will be targeted and easily processed by the journalist who receives it. Understanding how a title structures its news stories is something that can only come from understanding the title.
Although I am not saying sit down and copy word for word the whole of the news section from Computing, it is a valid suggestion to imitate the structure of its stories when you draft your announcements if this is a target.
Imitation can often prove to be greatest form of flattery – and a great way to secure coverage in your top target.
It is always nice to receive an award and to have your work recognised. Show me someone who doesn’t like a pat on the back from time to time, and I will show you someone who doesn’t care about their job.
A great many PR agencies list the awards that they have won at the bottom of emails and on their websites. Fair play but more often than not these prestigious awards are three or four years old or from a source I have never heard of. As a client, I am sure it is reasurring to see that you have chosen an agency that has won this award or that award for its PR campaigns. I personally disagree.
I think it would be more interesting to see the awards that the agency has helped a client win? At Berkeley PR, awards are often a large part of campaigns and some of our clients have actually set targets for being shortlisted and winning awards.
If I was a prospective client I think I would be more interested in hearing about how my PR agency could help me get recognised for my hard work rather than how successful they have been for other companies?
PR should be about working with all other marketing activities to drive sales and if you win an award that helps you win a customer, surely that is more interesting than your PR agency winning an award? As a client you should ask yourself – is it more important to my PR agency to win PR awards than for me to win new customers?
Following a post the other day about a new tool I found online which offered junior or budding PR professionals the chance to have their media pitches reviewed I set one of my team about trying it out. I felt it was a cool concept but didn’t want to just write about it without trailing it. I had initially said that I would show the results on the Berkeley PR blog but decided in the end to not bother.
Why? Well to put it simply it does exactly what it says on the tin…sucks.
After preparing a pitch, my colleague emailed it to them and waited for his feedback. This arrived in the form of an email saying, thanks for the pitch but we no longer offer this service….but we can review it for a fee.
Cool concept but unfortunately not quite the response I was expecting. So if you are a student or someone thinking about how to pitch the media I wouldn’t bother with this site and would instead recommend that you read some of my meet the media interviews. The personal touch always goes a lot further and if have listened to a journalist and know what they are looking for writing a pitch is always that bit easier.
I often talk to my clients about how the letters page represents a great opportunity to get some coverage in a target magazine or newspaper. This is often one of the best read pages and provides a great platform to respond to an article which you saw the previous day, week or months.
That said, I suddenly realised that I very rarely actually practice what I preach for myself so decided to pen a letter to Marketing magazine after reading an article on brands using Twitter while sat on the train the other day and the evidence can be seen in this week’s issue. It was certainly an ego boost (sorry wife the head is getting bigger) and a nice way to start the day this morning.
I have a simple question for you. If you had to choose which communication device you had to lose between the phone or email what would it be? When I was discussing such a scenario with one of my colleagues I was surprised to see that we both had different answers.
Previously, to me this was a no brainer, because I have always believed that communicating by telephone is by far and away my preferred form of communication. It allows you to build relationships with people, loses the chance of being misunderstood and is obviously conducted in real time whereas email can be fired off and forgotten. At this point I decided to ask a few followers on Twitter who work in the PR industry in the UK “Phone or email. If you had to lose one what would it be?” and was shocked to see how diverse the answers were. Was I wrong to be so pig headed with my response?
Comments like this from my good friend Josie at Phiness PR made me start to think about how this wasn’t as simple an answer as I had first thought “I’d lose the phone. Email provides a written record, so you can always track back through your conversations.” Helen Farrier at Samsung also provided another angle “I’d have to say I could live without my phone for work, email is vital for a global company.”
She wasn’t alone. Eventually I received a few more answers and before I knew it I had 100 responses. Over one third (35) of the PR professionals who replied to the poll said that they would rather lose their phone than email – a lot higher than I thought it would be.
On the anti-email side, one PRO (they asked not to be named) explained “I’d lose email – an evil tool geared towards structuring work so that it’s reactive rather than proactive. Can you arrange it?” Ste Davies continued “I’d lose email purely because I’m not too keen on it as a means of communication. Wastes a lot of time” and Mat Morrison explained his answer “email would go. Am assuming that I can keep Twitter, SMS, Facebook, LinkedIn, IM?”
My colleague Emma Sinclair also made a great point also, “This is really difficult – email is vital for sending documents and confirming details, but I really couldn’t replace the phone in terms of relationship building and honing the art of persuasion, so could I say ‘phone’ but I’ll keep a mobile in my pocket and use it when no one is looking… “
I particularly liked this answer. The art of persuasion or the ability to explain why a story is interesting / why a client should embark on a particular campaign is something that is difficult to do over email as at every stage people inevitably have questions and you are relying on them to have time to write them down articulately and send them over.
Anyway, without meaning to I may have caused a little ripple of debate between PROs around the country, but one thing is for sure, I was amazed by the generosity of the PR professionals who answered so fast and with such enthusiasm. A special thanks goes to @lauraslade who went around her entire team and recruited answers from them all to email back to me.
So what do you think?…email or phone?
Following on from my last post Nick Booth has stepped up again with a classic Response Source. As a number of PRs on Twitter have said this afternoon….Nick Booth you are King of Response Source! Below is his latest effort in full. Very funny…oh and if you can help Nick drop him a line, I’m sure he would be happy to hear from you.
Two years ago, Ann Robinson turned up to an awards do with a permanently surprised expression, as if someone had goosed her in a wind tunnel. All the newspapers turned downy my story idea – Ann Robinson’s had a facelift – but three days later, they all ran a piece about her announcement. The BBC has a story today about Spinvox, that I was pitching two years ago! Damn! So: I’m warning you there’s no guarantee this feature I’m proposing will definitely run. But here goes: Are ‘green’ products a total con? Can we bench test them? Which work and which don’t?
Here’s money I’ve personally wasted on ‘saving the planet’.
Solar car battery charger (£20)
Solar mobile phone charger (freebie, worth 49 quid)
Wind up radio
Wind up phone charger
All useless. None of them could generate enough power to torture a midge. Not to mention the wormery (it just filled up with old food) and a compost heap that attracted mice. Has anyone else invested in a green/wind/solar product that was a dud? How much did you spend? How useless was it? Do any solar products actually work? Anyone got a wind turbine that actually generates power? Can anyone give me a demo of a product that works?
I will happily wire my goolies to a wind turbine, confident that it won’t deliver a fatal electric shock – if anyone wants to arrange that. (It could be a good photo op) (Press release: South American fascist torturers are lowering their carbon footprint, with wind turbine driven electric shock torture racks….) I’m hoping to benchmark the reliability, or otherwise, of green products, and sell the story.
But don’t ask me when the deadline is. I don’t know yet.
This is an interesting question. I have lost count of the amount of times I have said in a new business pitch or spoken to a client about how surveys are a great way to get into the media. But why are they? The main reason is because journalists love stats. Stats bring a story to life, they can add the essential elements of a story – bad news, human interest and relevancy.
That said, surveys can be expensive and time consuming, so if you are going to encourage a client to part with some of their marketing budget for a survey you need to be certain it will generate the required results. This can be easier said than done.
I believe the secret to a successful survey is to know what headlines you want to achieve at the very start. Below are my 10 tips to help with the successful production of a survey. Continue reading