PR Lies – Myth Number One

November 5, 2008

I spend between 3-6 hours weekly talking to contacts in my business networks about the pros and cons of using PR to promote and grow their businesses – nothing remarkable in that, after all, good networking is based on giving, as we all know.

What has become significant, at least to me, however, is that pretty much the same questions and thought processes seem to surface from those not in the PR sector.

What I might find pretty straightforward or simple information, as a specialist, often comes as a huge surprise to the non-initiated in terms of PR processes and the basics of how to do it.

So, with that in mind, I thought it might be useful to dispel some PR myths – and lies.

Starting with this old chestnut: it’s who you know. NO it is not!

Gaining and keeping the attention of the Press is based pretty much solely on the strength of the story you are putting in front of them.

It is not to do with being a good mate of the Editor, or speaking in some different Media language, or schmoozing the Press over endless lunches. How strong is the story? That’s what counts.

Here’s an example, highlighting how the strength of YOUR story can make the difference between anonymity and significant publication.

We have been delivering a media relations Campaign for Bob Hayward and his team at OPC (UK) Limited, and Bob gave us the absolute gem of a story.

In the fact he was running SIX MARATHONS IN SIX DAYS. Thanks Bob!

Which he recently successfully completed, raising awareness for charity The Food Bank.

Not a single journalist that I contacted – either as an established Press contact or as a new Media contact – displayed indifference when told “We have a client, a businessman, who is running six marathons in six days across Death Valley for charity – would you like more information and pictures?”

All Editors found this story interesting, newsworthy and relevant to their readerships.

So, there you go: good PR is hinged around what you know NOT who you know – the day I take a sub-standard, woolly, fluffy, irrelevant, over-the-top sell for a client type Press Release piece to a Press contact is, quite simply, the day they stop talking to me.

It is all about the strength of the story, not the schmooze!

If, and you may in the future, you find yourself in front of a PR provider who starts rattling on about the Editors they know personally, how they are great buddies with the Business Editor at the Times or Telegraph, do yourself a favour – walk away! It’s blah blah blah.

You will instantly save yourself a significant amount of time and money.

More PR Myths to be dispelled in the run-up to Christmas, but I am always happy to answer more specific queries, if it helps improve the quality of business news out there.

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