Fresh eyes

Hack’s guide to managing PRs

hacks guide to pr
Simon Turner Freshfield Managing Director

Written by Simon Turner,
Chief Executive & Group Client Director at Freshfield

On a recent visit to Manchester, a piece of paper fell from an un-named hack as he walked down King Street. It was entitled: Hack’s guide to managing PRs. We share it with you. 

1. Always wait until 5pm on Friday to call looking for a quote that “has to be in today”. PR people like the adrenaline rush.

2. Always tell the PR person, “I’m sorry, I don’t regard you as a good source for a quote. I need to speak to your boss.” This is particularly effective with female PR people.

3. Always be rude. PR people misinterpret politeness as lack of urgency.

4. Always call to demand invitations to events for which you’ve been overlooked. Then don’t show up. Remind them who’s boss.

5. Accept all invitations to one-on-one interviews. Then, just before you hang up, make a comment that implies you’ve always wanted to have a real go at the interviewee and you’re looking forward to it. PR people hate to feel secure.

6. Always use the same excuse when you miss interviews. PR people will eventually get the hint.

7. A good interviewing technique is to interrupt the interviewee and say you’re not interested in his/her opinions, but only in answers to your specific questions. This keeps the interviewee from gaining control.

8. Never thank the PR people for anything. Gratitude upsets them.

9. Do not make positive comments regarding information provided or skills such as writing, presentation, or running an event. Better to say things like, “Gosh, the [name rival PR agency here] event I went to was really good. We had champagne.”

10. Always tell PR people what kind of giveaways you want. If you’re sick of T-shirts, don’t hesitate to say so. PR people really welcome the feedback.

11. Assume that every journalist is exactly like you, and whatever you want is what they’ll all want. Educate PR people accordingly.

12. Refuse to help PR people get to know you via questionnaires or off-deadline phone calls. What happened to good old-fashioned social skills?

13. Always yell as abusively as possible when PR people *in your estimation* fail to deliver what they promised. Accept no excuses: these people are *paid* to serve you. Make sure they know you’ll complain to their client companies if they don’t shape up.

14. If you haven’t been invited to a PR company’s most recent press event, call them and shout at them for ignoring you. Make sure they realise how important you are.

15. If you missed a press conference, call the PR company and shout at them for not checking that you’d gotten the invitation. If they did call, shout at them for nagging you.

16. Always demand a free meal as the price of doing an interview with a company executive.

17. Request a special meeting with a client because you share his personal interests. Put the PR people to great trouble getting tickets and other access to sought-after locations. Reconfirm when the PR people call you the day before. Don’t show up. When the PR people call to ask what’s happened, say you forgot.

18. On press trips, be unpredictable. Miss the plane.

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