the PR industry – current media trends and moans

I attended the Tech PR drinks last night put on by Mr Sturgeon (hat tip) and had a great time catching up with PR pals old and new.

A fair few of the conversations focused on how we are finding the media response currently (because us PR types really are that dull 🙂 ) and specifically what types of stories are getting covered, getting bumped right now.

Seems like everyone is facing the same issues which is always reassuring but thought I’d jot them down to reassure other PR folks they are not alone…

  • Roll your sleeves up. You have to work HARD for coverage – it is very competitive right now and you need a bloody good story
  • Negative, negative, negative. If it is a positive story, you’ll have to work even harder to get it in.
  • Chances are you’ll get bumped. If an MP resigns again or speculates about the date for an election, or slags off Brown, the majority of channels/press will bump your mid cap company’s growth or PR research story.
  • What they say and what they write are two different things. Don’t be fooled when you get to events and see trade mag editors talking up the industry and highlighting the shining stars, try pitching something like that editorially and it won’t make it through the door.
  • The silly season is around the corner, keep light hearted stories for that but avoid election timing at all costs.
  • Know when to hold. If you have a big project or big news on the business or political agenda and can hold it – do.  The risks of it getting bumped or getting missed over the summer are high.
  • What tech supplements? When putting together media lists, remember the majority of nationals are no longer carrying tech sections or supplements. Tech is just business – as my colleague Ged put it today, many successful tech businesses are media business now anyway and blue chips get covered through the usual financial/business pages.  If you represent US-based companies or smaller tech organisations, its time to creative when you dig out stories and news – think about where they’ll fit as you’ll come quickly unstuck if you try to pitch straight tech news to most of the nationals nowadays.
  • Work with freelance writers, they have to pitch stories all the time so if you some strong feature ideas, let them know.
  • Contact your contacts through new/different means to get noticed with good stories – in many cases you can forget the phone, email sucks – at the very least it needs to be personalised and tailored but even then in-boxes are bursting at the seams in most cases – never before has your contact book and own network (social/on line or otherwise) been so crucial.

What trends are you seeing?

how to handle technology journalists (via Jon Silk)

Read a hilarious post today via Jon Silk | pr geek: Handle with care #2: Technology journalists.

“People are giving up on journalists as a ‘dying breed’. As the Press Gazette closes in a puff of poorly-written PR, journalists are allegedly scratching around, starving and confused, for morsels of work from the remaining publications who are apparently only accepting free vendor content anyway. Don’t worry, none of this is true.

In reality, journalism is alive and well and adapting to the new communication channels of 2009. The websites of the big publishing houses are better than they’ve ever been and, while there have been some closures, there have also been launches.

So, fear not dear technology PR or marketing person. There are still people out there that might want to listen. The only challenge left facing you is knowing how to handle them. Hang on a minute… I know! How about a handy guide?”

His 7 points sum it up exactly:

1. Be confident.
2. Don’t ask them how much they know about your client.
3. Respect their deadlines.
4. Avoid being patronising.
5. Don’t say ‘thanks’.
6. Give.
7. Give a sh*t about their readers.

And quote of the piece goes to:

“Despite the fact that you’ve been sick three times and are now cowering under your desk merely at the thought of having to call one, technology journalists don’t actually know that much more about technology than you do.”