So, imagine the scene…

You’ve sent your shiny, perfectly-formed, stunningly-interesting press release to all your target Press. Not a single irrelevant media contact has been emailed. You have absolute confidence in the power of the story contained within your PR correspondence.

And then?

Nothing, nadda, zilch. Three days pass and not a single, salutory email or phone call from any of the contacted editors.

What next?

Don’t fret, panic or take it personally.

I receive 250 emails per day from company prs, in-house marketers and PR Agencies dealing on behalf of clients across the UK. And roughly 10% of them are worth reading. As in, worth taking a closer look because they are actually, fundamentally newsworthy and may interest my readerships. No sales pitches, PR spin, irrelevant waffle, just good old-fashioned News.

So, are you being honest with yourself?

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Is the press release just a poorly-worded sales effort?

2. Is it really relevant to the target readership?

3. Is it about current or upcoming News in the business, or a re-hashed story from 3 months ago?

4. Is the accompanying image of appropriate quality for the publication or online portal?

5. Is the editorial well-written, punchy and without waffle – does it succinctly tell the story?

6. Have I given the press release to a third party to check before emailing it to the Press?

If you can pass the above questions, and still no contact from the Press, be patient. Be persistent. Keep sending the right PR, in the right format, at the right time, and within our deadlines. We’ll get to it eventually.

Oh – and never, ever, ever ring us to see if we’ve recieved it. You’ll often find an expletive offends.

…at least, according to this comment.

A thought-provoking post from Adam Tinworth on his blog recently which highlights the old-school thinking of some journalists who may believe they are entitled to an audience, by right of their position of relative editorial power in the media maze.

Not so, of course, and with the advent of social media and citizen journalism, combined with a significant cut in the numbers of trained journalists conducting newsgathering activities, it has fallen upon contemporary audiences to take their news where they can find it.

That and the fact that news consumers want information more rapidly now, and in a way which suits them, not the out-dated production and distribution models favoured by the larger newspaper and magazine publishers.

Good PRs also know that the way they deliver their client news to the Press has to change – and rapidly. What’s next?

Following this recent report to the House of Commons, in which analysts predict the closure of 50 per cent of all local and regional newspapers by 2014, it begs the question – what will happen to the redundant journalists?

Will they be able to successfully navigate their skillset online, or into corporate comms roles?

What would you do – would you ever, in all honesty, ever accept a newsroom position in the UK again? Is it worth it?

The smart Hacks are already brushing up their online skills, learning new packages with which to operate via the Internet: take a look at the editorial jobs boards across the country: companies are crying out for digital content editors, web editors and similar.

It’s not so much that the editorial positions are redundant – more that the industry’s ability to adapt and survive appears to be redundant. The one constant thing in life is, after all, change. Stop moaning and starting upskilling.

In the best possible Karmic sense, when you give you receive. And although that may not always translate to cold, hard cash in business, this is the part of the KickStart Comms blog where we’re going to give you stuff for free – namely free PR exposure.

Got a story to tell? New business launch, product or service to promote, recruited a brilliant team member, won a wonderful new contract…? Anything you’d like to get out there, across our Network and out into the wider blogosphere? Email us your story!

Bearing in mind that WordPress named us as one of the fastest growing blogs recently, it could well benefit your business and give you valuable additional free exposure at a time when, let’s face it, we all need a helping hand in business. Our gift to you.

Let us spread your good news! Email your press release to us at info@kickstartcomms.co.uk. and we’ll happily post it on this part of the blog for you with our blessings. Don’t forget to include your company’s contact details, email address, URL and phone number. Whilst we can’t guarantee you oodles of extra sales, it’s a good start in pushing traffic and attention to you.

All editorial submitted needs to be of genuine value and readership interest: any sales pitches plastered onto press releases will be rejected – obviously. Real news, real value, and real benefits for our readers please.

Possibly, according to this item.

The profileration of blogs is opening up the PR sourcing process, and many traditional PRs see it as a threat not an opportunity. From my own background, I view anything which adds value to a story or debate a good thing – particularly if it comes from the grassroots level, the readership. The audience has a valid say too, you know. It’s not just the domain of the polished PR.

More so, if we claim as PR representatives that the only valid editorial inputs come from the trained Hacks sitting in out-dated corporate publishing structures, rather than acknowledging the inherent value and relevance of those on the ground, actually in the news itself, we are limiting the full scope of what journalism can be in the future. The debate needs to be open, and PRs can learn alot from the bloggers and tweeters online passing on real-time content.

Maybe, as the increase in PR copy into newspapers and magazines continues  – and let’s face it, with recession comes editorial cutbacks, forcing editors to rely more and more on whatever the PRs push in front of them – we’re going to come to rely on the other avenues of valuable copy contribution. Any PRs out there regularly scanning the blogs and tweets for inspiration?

I happen to believe that blogs and tweets are an incredibly-usefly part of the stream of news and feature input into any newsroom. But then again, you may be an old-school PR who isn’t used to being challenged, and who thinks you have the sole rights to conveying your clients’ news to the Press. It’s a brave new world online, jump in, the waters lovely.

Unhappy with your blog?

September 17, 2009

Don’t fret – try this solution.

What if…when your PR submits content to a journalist – specifically an online journalist – they have given quotes from you the client which include optimised, industry-relevant, search engine-friendly keywords within the quote?

It would be published intact by the Press, as it’s a direct quote adding value to the story or issue to be published. PR which actually does more than a vanity hit in the media. Powerful huh?!

But your PR consultant is probably already advocating this kind of integrated approach to PR and online exposure already…

Free PR – if you’re quick!

September 13, 2009

In the best possible Karmic sense, when you give you receive. And although that may not always translate to cold, hard cash in business, this is the part of the KickStart Comms blog where we’re going to give you stuff for free – namely free PR exposure.

Got a story to tell? New business launch, product or service to promote, recruited a brilliant team member, won a wonderful new contract…? Anything you’d like to get out there, across our Network and out into the wider blogosphere? Email us your story!

Bearing in mind that WordPress named us as one of the fastest growing blogs recently, it could well benefit your business and give you valuable additional free exposure at a time when, let’s face it, we all need a helping hand in business. Our gift to you.

Let us spread your good news! Email your press release to us at info@kickstartcomms.co.uk. and we’ll happily post it on this part of the blog for you with our blessings. Don’t forget to include your company’s contact details, email address, URL and phone number. Whilst we can’t guarantee you oodles of extra sales, it’s a good start in pushing traffic and attention to you.

All editorial submitted needs to be of genuine value and readership interest: any sales pitches plastered onto press releases will be rejected – obviously. Real news, real value, and real benefits for our readers please.

How not to use Twitter

September 10, 2009

Interesting article here on the potential of Twitter and the use – or misuse – of social networks by certain media across the Pond. It appears that the majority of the American newspapers studied have been using the social media darling as a piece of ’shovelware’, rather than engaging with the audience. They have been pointing their tweets to one place – their Home page.

Blimey, sounds like they’ve been following some of the British regionals’ tepid and shallow attempts on Twitter. I spotted a regional daily newspaper editor with a new Twitter account recently – and although I won’t name and shame him, the example illustrates superbly the mis-understanding of traditional media folk regarding social media.

This guy just doesn’t seem to ‘get it’ or maybe he hasn’t been given enough budget by the money men to spend a bit of time researching and understanding the site. The concept of giving quality content to enrich a community without payment is obviously an alien one to grasp. Wake up – and welcome to online publishing. This is how social networks thrive, buddy.

The daily newspaper editor is following nobody on Twitter. He has posted once in six weeks. He has closed the inbox message facility. So…he is on there for the sole reason of, well, being on there. No engagement. No interaction. No dialogue.

Erm…no point.

And what an insult for an educated, contemporary, media-savvy readership across a UK city to take on board.

One of the main concerns the newspaper number-crunchers in the UK have consistently demonstrated is not the quality of  content delivered online, but whether it can be churned out profitably, irrespective of the effect on intelligent readerships.

We all know that to win points on social media networks, you’ve got to give, give, give. And then give some more – hardly within the comfort zone of the majority of traditional British publishers. In the words of Hannibal, quid pro quo Clarisse.

My advice? If you can’t engage with the audience, don’t waste THEIR time by clogging up valuable social media space.

Tips to guarantee PR success

September 8, 2009

Even with the depressed state of the Nation, we still need, want and demand News. And the Media still needs to be supplied with excellent content and images to feed their readerships. So how can you guarantee you’re hitting the headlines? Try these tips:

1. Get inside your business and uncover newsworthy stories. Don’t make stuff up, or create spin. Uncover the people news.

2. Make sure you get your content professionally written and supplied to the Media with professional images taken by a professional photographer – note the word ‘professional’ in there? that’s because you need to give a professional representation of your business to the Press. saving money and cutting corners sends out the wrong messages to your target Press.

3. Research your target newspapers, magazines and online sites throughly – you need to know who is writing what, where and when before you try to sell them your PR. Anything less is nothing short of media relations suicide.

4. Be persistent – you may well need to contact, re-contact and re-re-contact before you get the result you’re after.

5. Respect deadlines – always, always, always ask a journalist if they are on deadline BEFORE you launch into a pitch.

6. Give them whay they want, and within the hour. Trust is built with the Press by delivering the goods on deadline.

Even if you maintain the above Tips only, you’ll go a long way to building great media relationships. Try it!