Re-posting this from the Bristol Editor blog, as an example of how not to deliver PR. Read it and learn folks.

…and the dubious award goes to these guys.

A huge thumbs-down to the PR Directors at PR firm today: following a mis-pitch yesterday on behalf of their client Whyte & Mackay, in which a press release on the drinks firm’s re-brand was sent to a printing industry-based Newsroom (ie mine) a follow-up email was sent by myself, asking the PR Account Director to remove us from their irrelevant PR issues.

Email received back, apologies accepted, we all move on and continue to cypher the 250 daily emails from PRs.

Or so I thought.

This morning, another email from a different PR Account Director at Dada, telling me about the wonders of how Whyte & Mackay are using Twitter to promote and launch Campaigns for consumers. Fabulous. And totally irrelevant. Again.

Many thanks to the second PR Director at Dada – this guy. He was too busy to take my call earlier, asking if they could actually confirm that they had removed our newsroom email address from their database, and if they would please, please, please stop PR Spamming us. Too busy to talk to the Press? Another clanger for a PR firm to commit.

So, in the absence of a decent resolution, here we are.

To top it all, Dada’s PR pitch on their site claims that ‘No-one can offer you a PR service like DADA’ and – for completely the wrong reasons – I am now inclined to agree.

Now pass me that chocolate fireguard, it could come in useful.


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…

Awful story. Terrible PR – well, to be fair it made into the Telegraph, but that’s no measure of the story’s strength.

The story? Schoolkids here are being given a fiver to..wait for it…put rubbish in bins. Tenuous in the extreme. Who is worse – the PR who pitched the story, or the journalist who wrote up the press release? If your PR is as lazy as this, hire another Agency.

I’ll give a fiver to anybody who can spot the guilty PR party. Hint: the anti-litter scheme is sponsored by Sainsburys. Ahem.

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.

Look no further – here it is.

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?

It appears that American PRs are facing a challenge for corporate work from journalists, according to this today.

With many more thousands of US media being forced to leave the newsrooms than ever before, the post by David Walker highlights interesting developments for the Press there; and also for British journalism, if old-school print English hacks are willing to follow the lead of our entrepreneurial American media cousins. Journalists make excellent PRs, as we have seen.

The loss of journalism jobs, as in purely editorially-based jobs, has been immense and devastating in the USA: in recent months, the effects of global recession have hit the USA’s media far harder and quicker than anywhere else. Many have moved into PR.

But the speed of enterprise and sourcing alternative work has also been staggering, as Walker’s post highlights. Journalists are moving into corporate-land, producing content, films and blogs, delivering outstanding editorial to the Media on behalf of Mr CEO. Our redundant British journalists could learn a lesson from this. And it will wake up our fluffy London-centric PRs.

Whilst corporate comms has been seen as a no-go area for a trained journalist, it represents rich pickings: as Brian Storm, founder of US-based MediaStorm, points out: “A PR message has no authenticity. It won’t go viral. Organizations are looking for a new way to get their message out, and journalists can play a role in that.”

I know if I was looking to work in a stable, financially-rewarding and challenging commercial environment, the choice of an over-worked, under-paid, massively non-appreciated media firm would hold far less appeal than a contemporary, profitable and engaging boardroom scenario for me. That would be the case for either an experienced PR or a journalist, I imagine.

According to today’s Media Guardian, the tweeting phenomena is most definitely changing the comms landscape rather than just being another media fad – although, of course, Twitter may well be replaced by the latest contender in another 18 months or so.

Time will tell.

The interesting point about the article, for me at least, is the way in which journalists are slowly – very slowly – coming to terms with the fact that great news leads can be obtained by simply following the pubic timeline of tweets on any given day.

And the same can be said of PRs too: most traditional PR firms are scared witless by such media tools: the long-standing approach is ‘if the client can measure it as easily as we could, don’t give it to them – maintain the “Dark Arts/We have All the Press contacts/For the love of God, don’t empower the Client” party line, which is a real shame.

A shame for client. A shame for positive PR. And a shame for the most important element – the audiences.

Then again, when was the last time a traditional/old-school PR agency really cared about the audience?

Exposed here, as reported in the Guardian and surrounding the decision of Neal’s Yard Remedies’ (NYR) PR team not to engage in an online discussion and debate, having previously committed to it.

PRs doing U-turns? Nightmare.

As a business contact of mine once said…If you’re doing what you say you will, when you say you will do it, and on the agreed budget, you’re already doing better than 80% of businesses in the UK…how those words ring true around this U-turn today.

After all, if NYR are claiming their green credentials as a major selling point, the PRs there should answer questions from consumers around these claims. Excellent points were made on the subject by both Max Clifford and Mark Borkowski.

It is always easier to defend a strong, solid position than attempt to re-negotiate a stumbling, lost point with the Press.

…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?