Five things that hacked me off about ‘PRs’
When you’re in a busy newsroom, you get used to various kinds of material coming at you from different directions and sources.
As a former journalist, along with a number of other colleagues, I was often turned off by some of the approaches and behaviour of ‘PRs’.
Here is a short list of some of the biggest turn-offs, and a few lessons learned along the way from the other side of the fence.
1. The PR call that starts: ‘OK, mate, having a good day?’ No, I’m not your mate and I’m not having a particularly good day, so can you please just introduce yourself and speak to me in decent straightforward language.
2. The press release about the company based in Leicester sent to you in Preston. Again, it’s the delete button.
3. ‘We have an important company announcement on rationalisation.’ In other words, there are job cuts so why don’t they deal with it, explain the reasons and what is going to happen and move on with it?
4. The owner of a business who says he knows a few councillors and we should use his story. Thank you, do forward it and we’ll take a look.
5. ‘We’re going to sue – the name of the MD is mis-spelled.’ Please tell him sorry, but as much as accuracy is paramount, mistakes do happen.
This is all a little time ago when I worked in regional and national newspapers, including the Lancashire Evening Post and the Daily Mail, helping to put together a rapidly-moving news agenda at a time when print was king and the internet was just rearing its head.
However, the same principles still apply today. Good, honest communications work, whether in print, online, on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Indeed, it is heartening to see the public relations profession maturing, and that communications is now a function which has a remit at most board tables.
Never forget, the building of a reputation – individually and corporately – is built on trust and mutual respect.
At Freshfield, this is one of our guiding principles and we continually strive to engender professional, transparent communications into all of our activity on behalf of our clients for now and the longer term.