Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all the PR and marketing people I work with during the year. Some of you are on staff at the companies and venues you work for. Others belong to PR companies on contract to various organisations.
Many of you do a fantastic job. You supply useful information well in advance, you know people like me by name and you are always helpful and friendly when asked to provide something such as press tickets, photographs or interview contacts.
Others of you, I’m afraid, have a serious training need. Here are ten pointers to get you started:
1. Journalists are busy diary jugglers. We can’t come to your event tomorrow if you forget to tell us about it until today.
2. We need succinct and accurate information.
3. A long press release which says the same thing three times is not helpful.
4. Spare us the meaningless gush and superlatives and cut to the chase.
5. Remember your show, project or whatever is almost certainly not unique so don’t claim that it is.
6. To write about an education project properly I need access to students/participants not to the sponsor, however much you need to get him/her praised.
7. If you promise press tickets for a show please make sure they are there and tell us where to collect them, along with a programme if you want it written about. Few things are more tiresome than having to explain at the box office who’ve been told nothing about it.
8. Don’t ask for copy clearance. Not done. You probably won’t get it anyway and it marks you and your client out as not knowing the ropes.
9. If you organise a phone interview for a journalist at an agreed time then that is an appointment just as if it were face to face. Please ensure the interviewee is ready and waiting.
10. Photographs should each be labelled with a caption – if there are fewer than six people shown please name them from left to right and include a photographer credit. Do not send the info in a separate email and expect me to do it. The latter just leads to expletives and errors.
So that’s a bit of free training. My Christmas gift to you. Season’s Greetings and all that.