13th May 2019
13th March 2017 - Stuff that PR consultants just do
There are some things that good PR consultants just do. It’s part of their DNA, and they don’t give it a second thought because it’s so fundamental to the way they operate – they simply don’t question it until they realise that not every other PR consultant does what they do.
Here are just three things that I take for granted but I’m amazed how impressed clients are when they find out.
Don’t do duds
What a client may think is a good story and what a journalist deems to be newsworthy are often two very different things. Let’s not forget that journalists are under great pressure to publish interesting and relevant content.
In my entire career, I’ve never drafted a story that didn’t have genuine news merit. To get to this point is a mix of being honest with the client and looking at ways to reframe the idea into a different or better story.
PR consultants can get a bad reputation in media circles for trying to promote duff stories. This is why a fundamental part of a PR consultant’s role is to match the story to the publication – in content, tone and interest.
In an almost exact inverse of the above point, good PR consultants filter a whole myriad of media requests.
One of my favourite anecdotes is the day I turned down a BBC2 Newsnight interview for a client because on every level it was the wrong thing for the client.
OK, so Newsnight is one extreme, but at the other there are pet hates such as support advertising requests. This is where a publication gives a company extended editorial exposure in return for the company passing the publication a list of key customers and suppliers so that they can be approached for advertising. It’s a horrible practice, as suppliers are strong-armed into advertising.
Either way, us PR consultants are continually “politely declining” offers that we know are not suitable for clients.
Plug in to journalist feeds
Journalists frequently reach out, often at very short notice, requesting case studies, people to interview, experts to comment, etc.
They do this personally to trusted PR contacts (often by email), on social media (Twitter accounts such as @JournoRequest or using the hashtag #journorequest), or via paid-for services or online portals.
While wading through the masses of information on Twitter and other platforms may seem like a daunting task, an experienced PR consultant will know just the right people to follow and befriend – so they’re in the right place at the right time when journalists need an attention-grabbing story.
Having re-read this so far, it still feels like I’m teaching my granny to suck eggs. But what is obvious to some is a revelation to others. These small, everyday acts add up to big results, distinguishing a good PR consultant from a bad one.
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