Last week, my deluge of overnight emails included one that looked suspicious. I came very close to deleting it. It appeared to come from the IT industry’s respected Forrester Research, proposing the ridiculous idea that our agency was among the best in the world! I took a second look, then a third. PR Deadlines had indeed been chosen as one of the world’s best channel-focused PR agencies. Since we had not been interacting with Forrester, this came as a complete surprise.
It followed another accolade, about a week earlier. Sean Mitchell, entrepreneurial chief of the expanding Techday empire, told us: “PR Deadlines is one of the best in the business, consummate professionals and a preferred partner of ours.” We like to tell clients and prospects that some PR firms are more equal than others. Now it seems that some people believe us!
Simply because we work at knowing individual media people and their needs, and give them exactly what they want, in their preferred format. My earlier career as a senior journalist with experience on three continents casts valuable light on those needs. Balancing the needs of a PR agency’s clients and journalists is key to the relationship and can lead to client success or failure.
Many of today’s technology and business writers are time-poor. Recently we took an informal survey, asking key journalists how long it took them, on receiving a PR story or pitch, to decide whether to publish. The answers averaged, wait for it… between five and 10 seconds! Fewer journalists are writing and editing more copy, so they want clear, concise and relevant text devoid of adjectives or any hint of marketing hype. Occasionally we apologize to media people for issuing releases from a client’s overseas headquarters, which we are required to pitch unchanged.
Few journalists have the time or inclination to read a 200-word initial paragraph or decipher twin-deck headlines almost half as long. In such cases, we email a precis to grab their attention. Today’s media receive an avalanche of material, good, bad and indifferent. PR acts as a filter between client and media, and the best agencies invest expertise and effort in ensuring that writers receive information in a format they find useful.
Imagine what life on the newsdesk would be like without that filter. A constant deluge of calls and emails from managers, marketing, communications and salespeople. A life of ceaseless, remorseless spam and jangling phones!
So, in technology and business sectors bursting with innovation and new ideas, being perceived as a reliable source of information is critically important in developing media trust. A good agency will apply our principles of short, sharp copy-writing across the entire communications spectrum. Disciplined writing is equally effective for social media, lead generation, advertising, presentations, speeches and more.
Good PR will leverage a client’s existing information. White papers, product briefs, brochures, blogs, ideas, and more offer a wealth of opportunity for sniffing out newsworthy items. An effective agency can transform all these into headlines.
PR Deadlines is an official member of the GlobalCom PR Network.