It may seem like an obvious point, but…

I recall when working as a business editor on daily newspapers and industry magazines that amongst the plethora of PR submitted for consideration on News and Feature editorials, much of it was sub-standard: too fluffy, no news value, poor angles, too much selling, not relevant to the readerships, awful images, or no accompanying images…to name but a few of the common errors in basic media relations.

You might think that these errors came from untrained, hopeful business owners or marketing directors? No. I am reffering to PR delivered by ‘professionals’ on behalf of clients. Clients who were being mis-sold the promise of effective PR to the Press.

When I use the phrase Press, I mean editors working online, offline and in any media medium which readerships might visit: let’s face it, the days of newspaper dominance are long gone, and any PR who is not advocating to clients utilising a mix of digital PR in their media relations efforts is seriously mis-representing any client in the UK today.

So, to make your PR work harder – as well as introducing SEO copy into your quotes for online PR submissions, also consider the following: industry forums, commentary opportunities on relevant newsfeeds, search engine keywords into your press releases for posting on your blog and online within your networks where relevant. In short, utilise the web. It works if you work it!

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According to this, the time is nigh.

Great inputs and observations from Martin Belam, on how social media techniques are being used by major publishers – his article also has implications for publishers, businesses, marketers, and of course PR providers.

With the advance of social media like a tidal wave upon us all, the sharp and the savvy PR deliverers are advocating their clients take a ride on the wave and enjoy it. New media tools and techniques are giving clients unheard of levels of control, exposure, measurement and feedback on their promotional efforts – and on a global basis too.

No wonder, then, that the traditional PRs are looking worried: their bleatings of ‘we-do-long-lunches-with-editors’ are no longer cutting the mustard with contemporary clients looking for greater value, better exposure, more customer inputs, and less cost.

I advocate clients utilising every tool in their communications arsenal to further promote themselves effectively, speedily, and on a cost-conscious basis. This undoubtedly includes new media tools.

Traditional PR providers, however, prefer the command-and-control model they grew up with and observed in the newspapers and magazines of old. Those days are long gone. Audiences have gained more control over the media process than ever before.

Is it time, then, to write an obituary for traditional PR? Partly yes, partly no.

My tuppence to the old-school PR luvvies? Either integrate, or move over quickly to die. The new media wave is here.

Excellent post here on the rise and rise of influence of social media in all communication – and it raises a question for those utilising PR agencies and consultancies. Is your PR consultant or agency advocating social media to you, explaining the benefits, investigating and researching on your behalf, setting you up on relevant sites? No? Time to find a new PR provider.

For example, 70% of the journalists questioned for the Econsultancy posting stated that they regularly used RSS feeds to source and develop News and features items. RSS is one of the most basic online tools a business can use, and yet it has hugely powerful benefits, along with the gamut of social media tools and techniques available to clients at low cost and high return.

Blogging, tweeting, friendfeed, facebook…the list is seemingly endless, but with appropriate expertise, social media can represent an incredible resource for the media, clients and new potential clients alike, looking to find out more about the services and products a busines offers.

If I were a client loking to source effective, contemporary and passionate PR for my business, I’d want to know that the consultant or agency could deliver the goods across a range of media, and not just arrange a lunch with 2 or 3 journos.

The Ab Fab days of PR are long gone – are you making sure your PR representation is relevant and utilising social media?

Possibly, judging from this comment today in the Guardian, regarding the NightJack blog and Times fiasco.

Frightening for bloggers to see that, in light of the ruling against blogger Horton attempting to protect his anonymity against the Times, the subject of blogging vs. journalism raises its head again. Looking at the judgement, journalism is still way ahead when it comes to having the full backing of media law behind it in the ongoing discussion of whether bloggers have any privacy rights.

Tricky subject. One of the keystones of newsroom journalism has always been protection of sources and information. And from a PR perspective, it gives us a whole range of new issues when recommending blogging to clients.

Granted, so the information is published on a widespread basis, but apart from that, it seems that the newsroom journos have all the protection. The NightJack case is compelling, in that we can see being a blogger and publishing sensitive information can be extremely dangerous when a publishing behemoth feels threatened by it.

Not a god day for bloggers, or the PRs doing their blogging for clients. A massive thumbs-down to the Times here.

Excellent post here on how to integrate content and attention online.

Interesting tips, including cross-linking from bigger sites to gain additional readers, as well as making sure that the timings of postings – to both Twitter and your blog – are linked carefully together, and in line with your overall blogging PR strategy.

I am a huge advocate of online content, including blogs and tweets: it raises the game of most content-producers and publicists alike, as well as giving more information to the audiences out there. And let’s face it, from a PR perspective, anything which adds value to the audience and stimulates client loyalty and attention – especially in the current climate – can only be positive.

Read this post and learn!

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 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.

Look to this day…

May 25, 2009

I posted this at the start of 2009, as we were entering the uncertainty of global recession and economic depression. A friend had emailed it to me over the Christmas holidays.

Having reviewed it, I thought it would be relevant to re-visit the words. It ties in with PR, as I think all truly effective PR is in the moment, calling upon the very best responses to the News agendas of the day. Observation and reportage without spin. Perfect.

Is your PR as pure and undiluted as this?

‘Look to this day,

For it is life,

The very life of life.

In its brief course lies all

The realities and verities of existence,

The bliss of growth,

The splendour of action,

The glory of power –

For yesterday is but a dream,

And tomorrow is only a vision,

But today, well lived,

Makes every yesterday a dream

of happiness

And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this day.’

– Kalidasa, Indian poet & playwright, Fourth century A.D.

…at least, according to this comment.

A thought-provoking post from Adam Tinworth on his excellent blog 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?

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!

Many PR Agencies have been advocating blogging to their clients over the last 18 months – since they realised it was something they had to propose, whilst not necessarily understanding the real deal with setting up a blog – and although it is encouraging to see members of the UK PR community seeming to embrace the blogosphere, take note!

Before you embark upon setting up a blog, or are advised by your hip, trendy and oh sooo tweeting PR Agency to set up a corporate blog to drive traffic to you online and increase sales, consider these Top 10 Questions:

1. Do you have a blogging strategy in place, and does it align itself with your overall Comms plan for the year?

2. Who will update the blog content weekly?

3. Who will monitor the stats, trackbacks and site reports?

4. Are you comfortable with being challenged by other bloggers?

5. Do you actually have something to say, on an ongoing basis?

6. Does blogging align itself with the services and products you offer?

7. Have you checked out competitors’ blogs and researched?

8. Why do you want to blog – is there a specific set of reasons, other than you think you should?

9. Are you able to integrate blogging with other activities such as e-shots, tweeting and database PR?

10. Which platform are you using and who will organise the technical elements for you?

If you can answer the above with clarity, confidence and consistency, it’s likely that blogging will probably be an excellent addition to your Comms and PR mix. If you’re shaky on more than 3 of these questions, seek professional assistance today!