I’m not a lawyer, or a shopping centre owner, or an estate agent. I don’t manufacture printers or low carbon vehicles, and I’m not a small business owner.
Yet I have been involved in successful PR and marketing activity for all of these sectors.
Because the clients in question, and the people within their business, were engaged, focused, and had a clear view on what they wanted to achieve from their PR campaign.
On top of this, they wanted a PR agency who worked as an extension to their own team – they viewed us a consultant, trusted our opinion, and gave us what we needed to understand their business and get the best results.
There are many things that a PR agency or practitioner needs to do to make your campaign a success – but there are also things we need from you!
1). Your time
Perhaps the most important thing that we need from you, and one of the hardest for you to give. We understand that your time is precious – and PR and marketing is just one of the hats that you wear on a day-to-day basis. But regular and ongoing communication between client and agency is vital for success – we aren’t mind readers and we need you to tell us what’s happening within your business. The further in advance we know of events, appointments, news etc – the more mileage we can get out of them. We also need you to be available for quick approval and urgent press requests.
2). Your expertise and opinions
Just because we do the PR for a lion tamer, it doesn’t mean we know how to tame lions. We need you to tell us what the story is. What are your views, your opinions? What effect will this have on your industry? The longer we work with you the more of your expertise we glean, but you will always be the expert. Our job is to take your experience and knowledge and turn it into a newsworthy story that will capture the attention of journalists and audiences, and integrate it into an ongoing campaign.
3). Your honesty
We need you to be honest with us about everything; how do you like to work? Are we positioning your company how you want it to be positioned? Are the results what you expected? Let us know what you think and we can adapt as we go along. A successful relationship is two way though, and we will be honest with you too if we’re not getting what we need!
4). Your belief
We know what journalists want, and we know how people want to be communicated with. There may be times when you have a story you want to push, or an angle you’d like to exploit – which we don’t believe will work. We talk to journalists on a daily basis and know what they’re after, and we can talk from experience about what can and should be said. If we advise you that a change in approach is necessary, listen to our reasons and have trust in what we say.
5). Your patience
It takes time and consistent effort to get results and build a strong reputation for a brand (especially when it comes to social media, which is increasingly part of the PR mix). But it also takes time to build a relationship with you, and get to know your business and your way of working. Have patience and the results will be worth it in the end!
Last weekend saw Europe’s largest free ticketed music event take place – Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Carlisle. Alas, I wasn’t lucky enough to be there, but curiosity got the better of me and I couldn’t help but check out online some of Sunday’s headline performance from Lady Gaga.
She is one of the most outlandish mainstream performers the world has seen in a long time – yet the public love her.
Some clients can be afraid of anything which is too ‘out there’. But, whatever your opinion of her, perhaps Lady Gaga is proof that people are a lot more open than we think.
So, with that in mind, here are five things PR pros can learn from her:
1). Be inventive
Lady Gaga appeared on stage in a coffin, wearing a PVC cat suit and a plastic baby bump. Odd, yes. (Although perhaps not a patch on some of her other outfits – meat dress anyone?!). Her approach is certainly creative. And creativity and innovation is something which in PR we should have in abundance. We should be able to come up with inventive, innovative, yet viable, ideas for clients at the drop of a hat. Take the time to regularly brainstorm with your team – come up with ideas which aren’t restrained by budgets or client briefs. Even if you don’t use the ideas they are still useful for keeping that ‘creative on-switch’ working, as well as providing a bank of material when your campaign needs a vital dose of ‘oomph’.
2). Don’t go too far – unless you can handle the repercussions
Usually shrouded by glowing reviews, Lady Gaga’s ‘Alejandro’ video has caused outrage in some circles, with MTV asking ‘Has she gone too far?’ The controversial video features sexual and religious imagery which is a bit too much for some people’s taste. Although creativity is important – it is also important to remember that it’s subjective. Think about your audience – will they find it amusing, exciting or insulting?
3). Support what you believe in
Lady Gaga is mostly seen in the press for her weird and wacky dress sense, and for hit single after hit single – but she’s also been in and out of the papers for her charity work. Charity partnerships are a great way for any brand to raise awareness of itself, get in the public eye, and build compassion. Lady Gaga’s charity work includes quitting Facebook for the Keep a Child Alive charity, designing a charity bracelet for the Japanese earthquake appeal, and performing at a benefit concert for the Robin Hood Foundation.
4). Be current
Splashed across the press after her appearance last weekend was Lady Gaga’s homage to the royal couple, Kate and William. The singer dedicated a cover of Nat King Cole’s classic jazz tune, Orange Coloured Sky to the couple and admitted that she wished she’d been part of their big day. Linking into the news agenda and ‘piggy-backing’ onto the hype surrounding current affairs is a great way to gain more coverage for your clients, and something all good PR pros should be able to do.
5). Always exceed expectations
Lady Gaga was half an hour late to the stage – leaving many fans wondering where the loyalty was. Always strive your utmost to meet client expectations – and where possible exceed them. This should be across all aspects of your campaigns; great ideas and amazing content count for nothing if you’re always late or never keep promises.
Earlier this month I attended a free photography workshop hosted by TNR Communications, part of the Press Association.
The workshop set out to “give a real insight into how to get national picture desks to run your PR photographs.”
I’d highly recommend the workshop – it was a great insight into one of the UK’s busiest news and picture agencies – and they illustrated the presentation with some really strong picture examples, as well as offering valuable insight into the day-to-day workings of a picture desk.
Here are some top tips from the day, to help make sure you get that perfect press shot – and the coverage it deserves:
1). Track record is important
Make sure that the photographer you use has a strong track record in securing national coverage for their photos – even if you have to pay more for it. They should have an intuitive eye and know what a national paper is looking for and how to get it. They should also know how to distribute photos – if you have no connections it can be hard to get your photo seen by the right people. Make sure they also offer solid insight and knowledge into the best times to send photos and the best resolution, file size and photo captions.
2). Know what picture editors want
When pitching photo stories, picture editors are your audience not newsrooms – you need to understand them. You need to know what they’re looking for and how they operate. Avoid clichéd photos (smiling business men holding big cheques are most definitely a no-no!) And remember that news is about people – the photos needs to reflect this.
3). Be more creative
Picture editors at national newspapers are inundated with photos – over 20,000 per day, and this is climbing everyday thanks to the rise in digital photography and citizen journalism. For a PR story to gain coverage this way it needs to be imaginative and eye-catching. Think of the wider story, and come up with creative ways of capturing it. If the story allows it try and be fun and humorous. And remember – a picture editor only sees thumbnails on screen – and hundreds of them at that. Your photo needs to be pretty special to stand out.
4). Try and sum up the story
An ideal photo for national press will sum up the story in one go. Even if you need to stage a shot which does this, then it could well be worth it. Often, strong photos aren’t run with a full story – just a photo caption. Make sure that your picture tells the story you want it to.
5). Manage branding
From a PR’s perspective getting branding into a photograph in the nationals is the holy grail of success. From a picture editors perspective it’s a nightmare. Try and find a happy medium – you can get away with branding but only if it looks natural within the setting of the photo. Don’t go overboard, and don’t try and make your branding the focus. Doing that will simply result in your photo not being used – or your branding being cut out.
6). Planning is vital
If you are planning a photoshoot or a photocall you must plan before hand. If it’s in a public place visit the site first; how busy is it? Is it too crowded? Can you get the right angles? Think about the environment and the background. What will be in your frame? If possible take your photographer with you – if not, take a digital camera and take a few snaps. You want your photoshoot to be done as quickly and efficiently as possible so planning is vital. You don’t want people hanging around on the day while you look for the perfect spot, or try to avoid the crowds.
7). Be aware of the news agenda
Pay close attention to the news agenda and time your photos well. Royal weddings, holidays, Wimbledon, hottest day of the year – all of these things can offer you hooks to get that perfect photo. BUT, it’s also worth sometimes going against the news agenda. For example election time, when picture editors are bombarded with man-in-suit after man-it-suit, it could well be worth doing something dramatically different to offer some light refreshment.
8). Move quickly
Once your photo has been taken get it re-sized, captioned and sent ASAP. But make sure that you pay attention to timings. Don’t send it on a Friday, and avoid afternoons if possible. The best time is around 10am in the morning. It’s also worth trying a Sunday morning – papers are often lacking content for Monday’s paper.
For some examples of great press photos check out TNR’s gallery.
Photo by graur razvan ionut
The website Churnalism.com was launched last week by the Media Standards Trust, and allows people to paste press releases onto the site and compare the copy with articles published by national newspaper websites.
I’ve found the site interesting, and had a bit of fun playing around on it, but I’m not really sure what the point of it is.
If Churnalism’s purpose is to highlight the fact that press releases are used in newspapers – then it will of course succeed. But the fact that press releases are copied by journalists will come as no surprise to anyone in the industry and is hardly front page news (excuse the pun!).
Nor do I think it’s a bad thing if press releases are copied – after all if a story is good (and accurate) then it shouldn’t matter where it comes from.
As a PR practitioner I feel a bit insulted by the site – as though it is suggesting that all press releases are crap which should never make it to print.
The other thing I’m not clear about is who exactly Churnalism is aimed at?
I expect PRs will love having a go – a fun, free way of tracking coverage anyone? Plus, if you find your release has been copied in its entirety then that is a PR score surely, and a sign you’ve produced something newsworthy?
I can’t imagine journalists wanting to check – after all if they’ve copied and pasted a press release do they really want to be called out on it?
Churnalism describes itself as ‘an independent, non-profit website to help the public distinguish between original journalism and ‘churnalism’. But do the public care (and how would they even have access to most press releases in the first place?).
I decided to find out, and as such did an impromptu survey with friends – specifically asking for people who didn’t work in the PR or media industries.
I asked the question ‘As someone not involved in journalism or PR – do you care?!’ Admittedly getting the answers from 20 friends on Facebook isn’t going to give in-depth analysis but it was interesting to see that actually, only half really gave a shit.
Some of the ‘other’ comments also gave food for thought:
“It depends on the press release. Every area of work allows for using work already done. If it is a large percentage of copied work it seems wrong that they should be allowed to do this, is it that hard to re-write something to say it another way? Isn’t that their job?”
I love this comment (and I must stress this was an anonymous survey – though I’m sure my friends will tell me who they are when they read this post!)
It’s a very good point – writing and researching is what journalists are paid for. But then on the flip side, it’s also what PRs are paid for – to create newsworthy material for their clients.
The issues surrounding the Churnalism website, and the reasons behind it, are age old – the love/hate relationship between journalists and PRs (many journos say they hate PRs but would then struggle to fill pages without them) and also the ‘purpose’ of a press release.
Is a press release a fully formed story, or a taster of a subject which the journalist should then embellish and build upon?
And if a journalist runs a press release word for word does that make them bad at their job, or does it make the PR good at theirs?
Or perhaps it doesn’t mean any such thing – perhaps it means that the PR/journo relationship is working.
Churnalism will clearly help demonstrate lazyness in the media (and indeed unimaginative PR) but it also makes it look as though every story comes from a press release. What would be a fair representation would be seeing how many original news stories there were on a day – COMPARED to those that came from a press release.
With regards to the effect the site will have I’m not sure – as I don’t think it’s doing anything that people didn’t know already.
It’s fair enough if they want to raise awareness to the public that this happens – but they should also make it clear that many press releases are well written, accurate and have a place within the news agenda.
What do you think of Churnalism.com?
I’m not really a girly girl. I don’t like the colour pink, fluffy dogs or babies.
But there are two things in my life that can make me go ‘ah’ and that’s my nieces, who are 4 and 5 years old.
Unfortunately, I don’t get to see them as often as I would like as they live a few hours away. But last weekend I had the pleasure of looking after them.
Between the reading, painting, Disney Princess snap, Dora the Explorer computer games and splashing through rivers in the forest, I realised that actually, as communicators, we could learn a lot from the younger (well, much younger) generation, and their way of viewing the world.
1). Don’t lie
Shame on me, but I might have told a couple of white lies over the weekend. ‘Yes, I’ll play Disney snap with you after dinner’, and then not following through because I had to go out. And there is nothing quite like a 5 year old to make you feel guilty!
Honesty should be a core trait for any communicator. Despite the reputation that the PR industry sometimes has as spin doctors, what we do, and the messages we send out should always be truthful. This should be the essence for everyone you deal with, from clients – telling them truthfully what results they can expect – to journalists. In fact, especially journalists. If you don’t know something, say so. If you can’t make a deadline, say so. It’s much better to be honest, and then try and rectify the situation, than it is to lie and be caught out when you don’t deliver.
2). Put your foot down
My nieces putting their foot down may have transpired into tantrums! But, they might well be onto something with their belief in what they were standing up for. Often clients ask us to do something which we know isn’t going to work. If you go ahead, simply to please your client, then you risk damaging your reputation with third parties (for example spamming newsdesks with crap, non-newsworthy press releases), and also the client, who will eventually wonder why your outputs aren’t getting results. We’re consultants, and should act as such.
3). Be creative
The weekend was full of reading, drawing and painting. Things I actually used to love to do but never make the time for anymore. Being creative is a core part of communication; no one wants the same tired approach over and over again. Make time for creative brainstorming with your team, and to read publications relevant to your clients for inspiration.
4). Pay attention to detail
It’s amazing what a 5 year old can notice. One of my favourite comments ever said by my youngest niece was ‘Your earrings don’t match your dress’. She was 3 at the time. Now, I personally believe that they matched fine, but this attention to detail can often be overlooked in a busy working environment. Always double or triple check everything you do – from ensuring you’ve got the right people CC’d into emails, making sure you’ve brought biscuits for that important meeting, and of course right the way down to written copy. This attention to details is what sets apart a great communicator from a good one.
5). Don’t give up
My eldest niece is an amazing reader, and when she got stuck at a word she stopped, took a long look at it and broke it into sounds. Nine out of ten times she got the word right. Seeing the attention paid to the task, and how determined she was to succeed was really inspiring. I know myself I often dread making certain calls, or doing certain things – that follow up call to a journalist, or that final chase to a client for approval – but it is important not to give up. The results are worth it in the end!
A client has an event coming up and you’ve been tasked with publicising it.
What’s your approach?
- A brief paragraph outlining the event sent to a few key journalists for their diary pages?
- A press release with event details and a quote from your client sent to every journalist in a 100 mile radius?
- OR a full-page feature in the relevant section of a publication which is in the event’s immediate catchment area?
It doesn’t take a genius to work out what the best option is. And the good thing is – if you’re holding an event, then you most likely already have ample material to make a feature happen.
After all, if you’re planning on keeping people’s attention for an afternoon, or even a full day, then your topic must be fairly interesting!
So, how can you make this approach work for you?
You already have your topic:
If you’re holding an event, then you already have your content. If it’s an advice seminar then draft a feature which tackles the main issues, and then offer hints and tips on how to overcome obstacles. If it’s a debate then it’s even better – do a pro and con piece with first person pieces from each spokesperson.
A client recently sponsored a debate on a controversial rural business funding programme. The area’s main newspaper was approached and a full-page ‘for’ and ‘against’ article appeared. It featured arguments from the key-note speakers along with a quote from the client, and event details. This was pitched to the rural section editor.
Make it even more local:
News is about people – and a feature is even more likely to be commissioned if you can show real life local examples.
A client was offering a free event, in two different locations, on the benefits of working from home. By finding a relevant case study of home-based businesses in each area and using them to illustrate the topics which would be covered in the event, two features were secured – one in each target area. This was pitched direct to the business editors.
Don’t be biased:
Perhaps the topic is there but your client can’t add enough weight to make it stand as a topic on its own? Involve third parties. Not only does this give the journalist a better and less biased article, but it also gives you an opportunity to hunt out a potential new business lead.
A firm of solicitors was offering free advice clinics to families whose child was suffering from a health condition. By partnering with the condition’s main national charity and including a case study of a real local family who had been affected, a double page feature was secured in the paper in the solicitor’s key catchment area. By pitching it properly to the journalist, a legal fact box was included complete with clinic details, website and phone number. This was pitched to the health and lifestyle editor.
To some extent the event is what makes the piece newsworthy, but this can sometimes be a tenuous link, even with case studies and advice. What statistics can you find which back up your points? Make sure they’re from a reputable source and as localised as possible. Contact local industry bodies if necessary.
Choose your publication and section:
Where is the event being held, and how much of a pull will it really have? In my view, most events, unless they are huge industry affairs only pull in delegates from a 20 mile radius of the venue. Target the publication with the biggest and most relevant circulation – and preferably one with a strong online presence. Make sure you know the publication – if it’s a business event approach the business editor, a health story approach the health editor etc.
Pitch it properly:
This isn’t a hit send on an email and keep your fingers crossed job. Phone the editor responsible for the section you feel the story is most suitable for and explain who you are and what the feature will include – explain that it will be an exclusive for them and that it will be completely localised.
If they’re interested, explain the structure you’d like the article to take – do they have any concerns or suggestions on this? How many words would they like? What date can they publish and when would they like the copy? What about photos? You can hopefully provide some but are they happy to take one of the case study if necessary?
After the conversation, if they’ve said yes to the feature, send a synopsis outlining the agreed publication date, the deadline date, the word count, who will be providing the photography and also detailing, in bullet points, what will be included and the structure it will take. Make sure you follow this when it comes to drafting the article so you give the journalist exactly what was agreed.
Deliver it on time:
You’ve already shown that you understand what their readers want. Don’t undo all of that hard work by not delivering it on time. Do whatever it takes to get what you’ve promised to the journalist on time.
You’ve delivered the copy on time, the feature has appeared, you’ve got a fantastic piece of coverage for your client, and hopefully the publication has replicated it online to.
Next up – say thank you!
A quick, one line email to the journalist to say thanks will go a long way. Not only have you shown the ability to really deliver targeted content suitable to their readers, but manners too!
Hopefully, by following these steps you’ll not only get some great results for your clients, but also build strong relationships with journalists and demonstrate that you are a trusted and reliable source.
What do you think – have you tried this approach? How has it worked for you?
I was having a chat with a business owner over the weekend, who has just taken on a freelance PR to do some ad hoc work for his company.
He said it was all going well, but why did ‘us PR and marketing lot’ have to use so much jargon?
And it’s true.
There are far too many people in this industry (and most others) who talk in riddles – what’s wrong with just saying what we mean?
Here’s a few of the best PR clichés – and what I think they really mean.
If you’ve got any to add let me know.
1. Smoke and mirrors
It’s not quite the truth but we’ll make the journalist think it is.
2. Take a view
We’re busy and don’t have time to talk to you right now. Either that or we simply don’t know the answer.
3. Pull out all the stops
We’ll work extra hard, or at least try to.
4. Thinking outside the box
We’ll try and be original. This one makes me laugh though – if we weren’t original, we wouldn’t be very good at our job now would we?
5. Moving forward
There’s no need for this one – ever. We just mean ‘in the future’, and half the time even that isn’t needed.
6. Touch base
We’re calling to say hello and to show you that we are still working hard for you, even though press coverage might not be as high as it was in previous months.
7. Hit the ground running
We’ll start straight away. Again, it’s pretty pointless – I don’t think we’d have clients for very long if we didn’t.
8. On the same page
We’re thinking the same thing as you, or vice versa.
Let’s face it – a lot of business news can be pretty boring.
So what? There’s been a new acquisition, or a new board member, or an increase in turnover.
You need something to make your story stand out – and a decent photograph could be just the ticket. By commissioning a bespoke photoshoot for your story you could end up doubling your coverage.
Here are some hints to help make it work for you:
1). Use the photo wisely
Not every story needs a professional photograph – whatever shots you have to hand may be enough, or indeed no photo at all. But there are times when a photo is the story. Think about your story visually – the story itself might not be that strong, but a photo could make it get snapped up by journalists. If you can persuade your client to spend that little bit extra (time and money) on a photoshoot it can really make a difference.
2). Be clever with your client
Some stories might not be directly linked to your client, but a photo can make sure they get a mention. For example, I recently did a press release on a law firm who helped a woman – who was the first person in the UK to use thermal imaging on pets – with the t’s and c’s on her website. The story was the woman, not the law firm – but by organising a photoshoot with her and the solicitor (not to mention a very cute Huskie dog), it was guaranteed that the law firm would get a mention in any coverage. And they did – the picture came out great and the story was used in every major business publication in the south west and numerous national veterinary titles.
3). Have respect for the photographer
We have an idea in our head of the sort of shots we need from a shoot, and a decent photographer should be able to get these. But, in the same way we work as consultants to our clients, photographers work as consultants to us. If they have an idea, or think that your idea wont work, discuss it and work through it together – use their expertise to get the best results.
4). Brief your client
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking a photoshoot is a few quick snaps on a digital camera. If you haven’t briefed your client fully and then a bossy (they’re usually the best) photographer turns up with flashes, backdrops and props, barking at them to smile more, then it can be a recipe for disaster. Even if it’s a simple head shot you’re after, ask your client to clear an hour in their diary and remind them to dress smartly (you may think this will be obvious – but trust me, it isn’t to everyone!)
5). Ask the newsdesk
Worried you might shell out £150 (approx $230) for a photoshoot and then the story still won’t get picked up? Call the newsdesk at the publication you’d most like to get coverage in and ask if it would be of interest if you provided professional photographs. It’s even worth asking if they would like to take photos themselves. What with all the redundancies in the past year or so it’s not as likely as it once, was but I’ve still hit gold a few times with this approach – especially in regional newspapers.
6). Do you even need a press release?
Perhaps you don’t even need to bother writing a story to go along with images. Great exposure can be got through an image alone. Without sounding too corny ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’ and all that. Send pictures with a simple photo caption and short paragraph outlining the story – this works especially well for the ‘social’ pages in magazines.
7). It’s not just for press
Don’t think of the photo as a one hit wonder. It can be used on websites, uploaded onto social media sites, in marketing collateral and even potentially in future press material. It’s always worth checking the terms with your photographer though to make sure you have exclusive and unfettered usage.
8). Please! No more head and shoulders!
If I see one more ‘man in a suit’ staring back and me from the business pages I think I might scream. Of course these shots are sometimes necessary but try and make them a bit more exciting – if you have funky artwork in your office try and pose in front of that. Perhaps you work in stunning scenery, or on the waterfront? Get outside and have your photo taken. Anything apart from that stark white background.
It’s been one year since I ditched journalism for PR, aka the ‘dark side’.
It’s not something that really dawned on me to write about or publicise until I stumbled across the young journalist’s blog section on journalism.co.uk.
There are so many great posts here from budding journalists itching to get into the field of journalism.
They remind me of myself just 2 years ago – desperate to be a features writer and see my name in print.
If only I’d known the truth then – that actually, after all that university studying and unpaid work experience, when I actually got there, when I actually landed that ‘dream’ job, I would bloody hate it!
Admittedly my career as a journalist (a paid one at least – if you can call it that!) was short lived – a mere 9 months at a news agency writing features for woman’s magazines and tabloid newspapers.
So many people ask me ‘Why did you leave journalism – that sounds so exciting!’ and sometimes I wonder if I made the right decision.
But honestly? That was enough for me. The bulging press cuttings book and the thrill of seeing my name printed in national press wasn’t enough to cancel out the death knocks, the incessant phone calls to bereaved and upset mothers, wives and children, and the hours of sitting outside victims houses to get them to ‘sell’ their story.
I couldn’t take the complete lack of privacy for victims of rape, assault and adultery and I haven’t bought a single woman’s magazine since I left the job the year ago.
I enjoy my job now – I am writing everyday and the topics I write about are wide and varied. Of course the rush of seeing something you’ve written appear in print isn’t the same as the one you get as a journalist – after all it hasn’t got your name on it.
But there is still a rush.
And I don’t regret my stint in journalism – having that insider knowledge has helped me to understand the industry and has been an integral part of shaping who I am and how I tackle public relations for my clients.
There has been talk across the Atlantic this week about making journalist’s primary source material and transcipts more readily available online.
Washington Post economic and domestic policy blogger Ezra Klein has called for transcipts to be used alongside traditional write ups, and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has criticised the media for not making use of the huge amount of space available online to host source material.
Klein says: “It’s safer to have your full comments, and the questions that led to them, out in the open, rather than just the lines the author thought interesting enough to include in the article.”
I couldn’t disagree more.
The main point of a journalist is that you, as a consumer, don’t NEED to read through 10 pages before getting to the point.
It is a journalist’s responsibility to tell you the who, what, where, why, when and how in the first couple of paragraphs – not hidden within a 15 minute interview spiel.
Also, there may be the space there to host the material – but what about the audience to read it?
I have no idea who would read a transcript – which often (if you’ve had the pleasure of transcribing anything) doesn’t make sense, has people talking over each other and is full of pauses, ums, ahs and corrections.
So, what it would perhaps mean in reality, is that journalists would need to turn every last word of an interview into a feature, or at least write it up in a way that is easy to digest for the reader.
Of course, there may be some exceptions – you may get the odd interviewee who is full of top information, which they express in a way that is interesting and engaging.
But it’s highly unlikely that there are enough of them to enable publishing transcripts online to become the norm.
Also, what about the interviewees themselves?
They are trusting (sometimes naively it must be said) that the journalists can turn their rambles into something useful.
Many would cringe at the thought of their unpolished answers being bared for the whole world to see.
There has been a lot of talk in blogs and on Twitter today about two particular work experience job adverts, both within the journalism industry.
Work experience? In journlaism? But that’s nothing new right? But the reason the backlash has been high is because they are both for freelancers.
One of the adverts under scrutiny is for a work experience person (or ‘workie’ as they are affectionately know in the industry) to help source real life features.
Before getting my first job in journalism (selling real life features very similar to those mentioned in the advert) I would have jumped at the chance for a work experience placement like that.
The only line I have a problem with is ‘Previous experience within the Real life sector is preferred but not essential.’
Really? An experience intern? Surely that is one of the worst contradictions.
But I still would have done it.
Journalism, more so than any other profession, seems to rely incredibly heavily on work experience. It’s no good having your NCTJs or a journalism degree if you haven’t got a cuttings book full of clippings to back it up.
I’ve done my fair share; four weeks at Cosmopolitan magazine, four weeks at a local Southampton paper, two weeks at a paper in Bournemouth and two weeks at BBC Southern Counties Radio, not to mention countless student papers, websites and hospital and community radio stations.
PR seems incredibly similar – my colleague worked for over six months, completely unpaid for numerous agencies before landing a paid position.
But we both agree.
It sucks, but it’s worth it.
The media is an incredibly competitive industry and to succeed you need to make sure that you’re willing to do whatever it takes – which includes working for free and, excuse the cliché but its true, learning to make a bloody good cup of tea.
Sounds great right?
Especially considering they are retailing at a massive £499 in normal stores – most of which are already sold out.
The site had just 200 of the handsets on sale, but when the deal opened at 9.30am this morning 5 million users attempted to log in to get their hands on the cut price phone.
Subsequently the site crashed – resulting in problem number one.
This lead to an outburst on Twitter, with many consumers assuming the deal was fake – becoming problem number two.
But, as Real Business reports it’s not the deal, or either of those problems that is under scrutiny – it’s the way in which the site went about advertising the deal in the first place.
Consumers’ main gripe is that they had to pre-register their interest for the iPhone 4 by signing up to Groupola’s daily alerts. This is the main problem. If Groupola had just held it as a regular daily deal (where you don’t have to pre-register for Groupola’s marketing emails), I’m fairly confident the backlash would have been less strong. Don’t forget that Groupola claims to have received over five million hits this morning – so that’s a lot of people signing up to Groupola’s daily email alerts.
Fair point I suppose (though if the site hadn’t frozen would the backlash have happened at all?)
To be honest I feel a bit bad for Groupola – it was a great deal, but one where supply would always be far outweighed by demand. But they were very honest with the terms – there would be a limited amount available and to have a chance you had to sign up to the email alerts.
A two minute online form and a daily email (which you can unsubscribe from easily) seems to me a very small price to pay for the chance to win, and I’m sure the 200 lucky winners aren’t complaining.
But it does create an interesting question.
When does a good marketing ploy become bad customer service?