Archive for February, 2008

Are we all about to become really poor (poorer)?

February 26, 2008

In August last year a lot of City types began to sweat quite profusely as they realised a global credit crunch was about to bite them in their collective bums! I can’t imagine a City type saying it, but they probably should have – it was “sh*t-the-bed-time” for those who had gambled more than they could afford to lose.

Great, at the time normal people who don’t have great big mansions in Richmond thought it would just mean bankers would get slightly less than the normal obscene annual bonuses they usually get. No harm there then. Unfortunately Northern Rock had been hedging one too many bets and its finances fell apart. All of a sudden the business press had a big juicy story they could sink their teeth into – and didn’t they just.

I have been out of financial PR for a year, but still keep an eye on “The City” and do the odd bit of financial PR for my current firm. Since Northern Rock collapsed in the summer, I have helped two (without wanting to say which) enormous companies, which are intrinsically linked to the global economy, announce a couple of sets of results each. On every occasion they have received very little coverage and I have been left scratching my head. Was it my poor work, was it that larger companies announced on the same day, has the world gone recession mad?

The answer, I think, came to me at a recent Gorkana breakfast. The editor of the business section of a particular paper was pretty much frothing at the mouth when he spoke about the credit crunch. The Northern Rock story had provided the opportunity for the business journos to cover front-end stories and they loved it! During the traditionally slow August/Septermber season, the business journos were regularly contributing to the front-end of the paper and saw their stock (unlike the companies they were writing about) soar.

I’m not denying that there has been / is a crisis in the credit markets, but to the extent that we are now facing a global recession? I have my doubts.

The scaremongering has relentlessly followed us through the winter and is still here in late February. Admittedly, some companies have reported weaker than normal results and have revised targets for the next twelve months. However, as I say, there are many companies which are doing unbelievably well at the moment and not a jot is being written about them. As I sat there at the Gorkana breakfast I asked my self why? I will let you decide the answer.

Is PR right for you?

February 18, 2008

I am a recovering PR.

Like most graduates, I left University looking to do something exciting with my life, and the lure of spin, champagne, and forward features was the strongest pull for me. I had dabbled in student media at University and finished up in student politics charging around campus with a mega phone. Corporate Comms (for those who can’t bear to admit they work in PR) was a natural fit for an English and Politics student.

Over a year after starting on a graduate training scheme, I finally admitted to myself that PR simply wasn’t for me. In truth, I knew after a month that PR wasn’t for me but desperate not be a failure at my first ‘proper’ job, I stuck it out for over a year.

If you are thinking about applying or even accepting a job in PR, consider a few things before you start:

<!Do you passionately consume media? I don’t just mean do you read a newspaper every day, but do you read news magazines, blogs, download podcasts and actively engage with new media? You will earn you stripes by knowing and understanding your media channels. A passive interest is not good enough.

< – Do you like to be in the limelight? Are you happy letting other people take credit for your work, safe in the knowledge that you’ve done a good job? Working for a PR consultancy, you will watch clients take credit for your own hard work every single day. If you are good at your job you will earn plaudits from the people you work around. Make sure that’s enough for you.

<! -Is a lucrative starting salary what you are after? PR is rewarding in financial terms after a couple of years but don’t expect to start on the same salary as your mates at Deloitte!

I don’t regret my year in PR one bit, Ultimately my work with digital media led to a job opening with an internet start-up in Soho, where I now head up the Business Development team; a job that I wouldn’t have been able to do a year ago. But if you are thinking about getting into PR, try and get some work experience, or at least arrange a chat with graduates currently in the industry.

The rewards are great, but the work isn’t for everyone.

PR bits ‘n’ pieces

February 17, 2008

Public Service announcement of the week time.

First up, for the charitably minded amongst you, a quick FYI that sometime contributor Rob Dyson and the 3rd sector PR and Comms off-shoot are partnering up with:

Charity Communications ’08 (www.charitycommunications.co.uk) the third national conference for everyone involved in charity sector media, marketing, press and communications, takes place on 8th May in London.

More details here.  

I’m sure Rob will give us a blog report here after the conference.

Also, response source meets social media? Ever get frustrated you  why your pitch didn’t get used by the journo, or when the request takes a new direction? Well if it were blogged, you might get an update. Hence:

http://www.gettingink.typepad.com/journos

is a free, open blog where hacks all of descriptions post details of current articles they’re working on, including requests for contacts, case histories, comment, review kit etc. It’s run entirely by a group of journalists at the101.com
Check it out. I like the idea, and hope it proves successful. The more transparency the better, I say.
Incidentally, both of these are good examples of pitching a blog. Both were Facebook pitched [entirely appropriate given my heavy usage of fb, and this group/blog’s origins], and were well-targeted, appropriate, and polite, with all the info I needed to quickly paste in. Good stuff, and anyone else with useful stuff you’d like me to take a look at, ping it over.

Miriam goes London-wide

February 13, 2008

Quick mention for fellow PR and Comm-er Miriam Laverick. She’s been featured on these very e-pages before, and could be found earlier this week in the London paper, venting her rage at oversized buggies ,of all things.

The commenters are especially amusing. sense of humour failure for some.

Freediving PR opportunity?

February 12, 2008

I don’t often draw attention to content over on the Facebook group, largely because I’ve always regarded the blog and group as two sides of the same coin. This, however, deserved as wide an airing as possible.

I’m a 35 year old British woman who recently set three World Records in the extreme sport of freediving and then two weeks later went on to take Gold for Britain at the World Championships.
I’m looking for sponsors so any PRs with brands that address ‘strong, real women’, ‘high achievers’, anything health or water-related, that kind of thing, there are marketing/PR/advertising/sponsorship opportunities.

Now I’m not quite sure what freediving is, but I’m pretty convinced it’ll be dangerous, glamorous, and undoubtedly a ‘good thing’. Follwo the link and get in touch with Sara direct if you’re keen.

ponsorships opps.

Top tips for your features list purgatory

February 4, 2008

Hayley has kindly asked for our tips on compiling features lists. Admittedly asking advice under a post headed ‘is there anything worse than compiling forward features lists’ might have given a clue as to how much fun lies ahead of her, but we’ll do our best to oblige…

1. Do them early. Preferably January 1st. If you don’t the PRO/Account exec’s personal ‘axis-of-evil’ [also known as your client/Account Director/Comms Director combination] will only moan [rightly] that they didn’t know about that vital February special feature which would totally have transformed their brand’s prospects.

2. Features Exec and the like can help, but there’s no replacement for actually having the lists themselves from each publication. Especially for when the afore-mentioned axis-of-evil decide to fundamentally shift their priorities, and that trade mag focus on dog-grooming products suddenly becomes highly relevant, rather then the existing list highlighting off-shoring features.

3. Do it on Excel. Yes it’s ugly, but it’s easier to use. If you really want to make a name for yourself use a pivot table. Go on, I dare you. It’s the new route to the top.

4. More is the new black. As in more features. Your protestations that ‘there wasn’t anything relevant’ just won’t wash. You’ll only get told to go back and do it again. So include all those opps of dubious and highly tangential relevance. Everyone will be happier for the superfluous info.

5. When trying to locate the elusive keepers of features list at publications [assuming they’re not on the website], remember that Editorial Assistant’s are your best friends. They occupy a distinctly unglamorous role, and PR’s bothering them reminds them of their aspirations to eb a journalist. Hence, shock horror, they will be the closest thing to a journalist you ever meet who will welcome your tedious advance. A bit like an unattractive girl at a school disco, they’re grateful for the attention, even if it is from the creepy guy in the corner.

And Finally, remember it’s what you do with the list which then counts. Merely assembling it is the least of your challenges. getting some coverage out of it? that’s a whole other story…

Actually, that’s not the final word. We couldn’t let this post finish without re-asserting our deeply held belief that features lists are like self-flagellation; a misery which must be endured in search of a higher glory; which in PR terms must surely be the day when you’ll be supervising someone else’s features list assembly.