Are all PRs deluded?

17 Sep

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Anthony Hilton from the Evening Standard raises a good point in this week’s PR Week. As paid consults, how far are we advising our clients on good stories, projects and campaigns? Sometimes the best advice is saying no that the clients’ ‘big’ idea.

Clients’ big ideas

Following on from my previous blog on watching your manager’s movements, this time my advice is be cautious of your clients. Yes – they know their business inside out. But, they don’t know PR.

Having worked with a number of clients, in my time I’ve had to put my foot down on a number of occasions to clients telling me everything from responding to news stories with their news after its appeared, to requesting names from a competition press release to be removed.

In this situation, stick to your guns when kindly explaining that you can’t (won’t) put your reputation and journalist relationships on the line on their every whim.

Spreading the good news

Hilton hits the nail on the head when he says that sometimes press releases just aren’t that interesting to journalists, ‘however important they are to the sender.’

I believe I’ve worked on some good campaigns and although the overarching theme is topical, the double digit key messages has put journalists off by wondering, ‘what on earth do they want to achieve?’

To even stand out in journalists’ inboxes, and then compel them to double click and open, a whopper of a subject line is needed. If it can fill the who, what and when, and encourage them to find out how, where and why, then you may have won part of the battle to be the ‘one in a hundred worth reading.’

Get it right first time by talking to the journalists you’re targeting to find out what they want. It can’t hurt and you might find a better, alternative angle from it.

Hilton concludes by wondering if some PR professionals are as deluded as their clients to continue putting out ‘below par’ press releases. Perhaps in this economic climate they are agreeing to every press release to boost their fees; eager to please. But, deluded they are not. If it wasn’t for them, your papers would be packed with much more nonsense than it is now.

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