Thursday, 27 September 2012

Prepare For Christmas!


2 things would fill me with dread when working for the BBC. One of them was Children In Need (I've never been a fan of forced jollity and news readers dancing).

The other was Christmas.

OK I now realise that I sound like an anti-fun stereotype. I do like Christmas, I've even warmed to tinsel and I want you to know that my home will become a grotto of delight for my 2 children. However, Christmas as a journalist is hell.

NOTHING.... EVER.... HAPPENS...

So why am I telling you this?

In the daily news media there are journalists, managers and producers up and down the land who are starting to prepare for the fallow period between Christmas and the New Year; they may only have it in their mind as a job that needs doing at this stage... and it's a job they all hate.

As a canny PR organisation, or as a PR working within an organisation, this is the time to think of how you can help those poor journalists with content.

Good content.

If you're thinking of things to do try along these lines (they are always the ones that get a look in at Christmas); Volunteering, working across the festive period, food waste, alternative presents, children, the armed forces / emergency services, animals and the awful things that happen to them and money. All of these will be trotted out every year without fail.

If you can dip your toe into any of these, provide case studies, no too many commercial mentions and access for a reporter to get it all pre recorded before Christmas week, start dangling it in front of them now. There will be journalists all over the UK who'll be so proud they have something to mention at the Christmas planning meeting in a months time.

Imagine their bright little face on that (nowhere near) Christmas morning when they open that big press release to find it's what every journalist asks Santa for... an easy life.

It's the gift that keeps giving.

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Monday, 24 September 2012

Page 3 or Lib Dems?

There are 2 big media stories this week, they both involve tits and they don't need anyone else to blog about them.

Seriously... Stop it.

Yes, Nick Clegg made himself look stupid and the song will haunt him to his inevitable political grave.

Yes, "Page 3" is out-dated out-moded tacky and unpleasant, but it won't stop until men decide that they don't enjoy looking at naked breasts.

Fine.

Are we done now?

So, on to the joy that Audrey Ellis has brought me this week.

Audrey Ellis? You haven't heard of her? The woman is a genius when it comes to the correct use of your freezer... She wrote "Complete Book Of Home Freezing" (no mucking about with definite articles here, oh no, straight in to it.)

Audrey (the one with the hair) wrote her magnum opus in 1970, and I've been reading the reprint from 1978. Oh what a read it is. Not only does it tell you to keep a journal of what is in your freezer, a task sadly forgotten by the modern freezer user, but she advises on the correct freezing method for everything in your home.

Audrey has a no nonsense approach to her subject. Here's her views from the page entitled "Slimming Dishes Planned For Your Diet"
"Almost every woman who needs to lose weight consoles herself by blaming those surplus pounds on something other than self-indulgence. Whether you blame your over-active glands or your extra-heavy bones the only way to get rid of a spare tyre and a double chin is to eat less of the fattening foods."
Thanks for that stirring advice Audrey... She goes on
"A fat friend of mine who found it all but impossible to cook her favourite dishes for the family without sharing them, kept up her morale by setting aside a small portion for herself each time in a special basket [in the freezer] of goodies to eat after she had achieved her ideal weight. It might be a bit of a temptation though, to less strong minded ladies!"
 Thank goodness men don't need to lose weight, it's just our "wives".

So why have I blogged about this rather than the usual media training comment stuff? Well, like I said, it's all been done this week. It's as relevant as Audrey Ellis' book on home freezing...






Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Take Advantage of The Phone In

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that Phone in programmes are for the insane.

Broadcasters know it, producers know it, and the listening public suspect it; because only extreme views are shared. It's like getting into a taxi and expecting a level headed discourse on the banking crisis that accepts it's partially our fault due to our acceptance of an extreme consumer society and our inability to differentiate between 'want' and 'need'.

The problem starts when a lazy producer thinks 'what's everybody talking about?' and comes up with the easy hit of 'Do you think [insert obvious shouty subject here] or [insert opposing view here] I'd love to hear what you think.'

They don't want to hear what you think, they really don't.

What they want is entertaining radio filled with opinions that get people cross and make them call some more. The full switch-board on a phone in isn't because they have asked an interesting question it's because they've asked an easy question.

So where do you come in?

Where does your business fit in with this vast swathe of lunacy?

Well, here's the thing, after a few weeks producing a phone in programme you yearn for a normal caller; a caller who doesn't have flecks of foam at the corner of their mouth. So when you receive a call from a business person who is measured and intelligent, who can use the right "journalist whispering" language, the heart beat quickens and you really want them to go on air and explain it for all the crazies out there.

The great thing for the business is that you get more exposure, you get the name out to a possible audience of hundreds of thousands and you are remembered by the producer... then the next time they need a business person who can talk fluently they know who to call.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Louise Mensch Made My Life Better.

This morning I was lying in the bath thinking about Louise Mensch MP...

I was listening to The Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 and a representative of the PCC was interviewed to respond to Mrs Menschs' Comments on the Sun newspaper publishing pictures of Prince Harry playing naked pool in Vegas.

As I lay in the water (wondering when the electrician was going to come to fix the shower) I thought "Oh good Louise Mensch is cross about something, I now know what to support today" and I paused... 

You see, Louise Mensch has for a long time been my barometer for right and wrong; if she thinks it's right then it must be wrong, phew I don't have to form my own opinions today, I've got one ready made.

I paused... and thought a little more. 

I'm against child slavery, war, and famine, and you know what, I bet Louise Mensch is too. Oh, this felt a little radical, could I be becoming a Tory in my middle age? Had it finally happened? I hit 38 and now I'm in tweedy decline?

No, I just started thinking.

The problem was I was caught up in my liberal "default narrative". "Conservative views and conservatives are evil" and that's all there is to it. When I go into organisations I make sure that we cover their "default narrative" we break into groups and discuss it from different stakeholder viewpoints, we examine how opinions about related matters can change default, and how the default from inside organisation is never what it is from the outside.

Mrs Mensch I apologise, next time I'll listen without the baggage or your default, I'll listen with an open mind, and if we all did that then I wouldn't need to train people.


Thursday, 23 August 2012

No one gets it right

It's a very simple job, you take time, you research and you build drama around that setting. "ER" did it for American Health Care, "The Bill" did it for the British Police, but no one ever gets radio right. Ever.

I've just had the misfortune to listen to "The Archers" on BBC Radio 4 and their portrayal of a local radio presenter was so wrong it hurt.

If they carry on like that they'll have to have the Police saying "'ello 'ello 'ello, what's goin' on 'ere then".

So what's wrong with the radio industry (particularly LOCAL radio) as shown in drama?

1) Presenters are not stupid - In the BBC most people are graduates with post graduate diplomas in journalism. Or have started in Radio at a University; because it's the only place you can be an amateur these days. However they often become cyphers for a story so they always present from the point of view of an idiot. Commercial DJ's live and die by RAJAR figures, if you're stupid then you don't survive, you need to be a chameleon, working a subject from all angles.

2) Very few people, and I really mean VERY few people have a 'radio voice'. Fashions change, and what used to work for Tony Blackburn no longer works for the radio audience. Listen to any local and you'll hear someone talking to you... that's what they do. There may be occasions that it sounds "Radio" but you try telling an empty room what song you were just listening to and you won't sound normal either.

3) They Con people into giving interviews and then unmask them - Yup, Eddy Grundy in "The Archers" has just been made a laughing stock in a scenario that wouldn't have happened because of producer guidelines on fair dealing and briefing guests.

4) Presenters are well paid. Your average BBC Presenter is paid on the same scale as the producer, or a journalist in the news room. There are some exceptions, but in general it's less than you'd expect. Commercial radio, unless you're on a networked Breakfast Show can be minimum wage... I have been there... some are very well off, but the majority? Average to middling.

Minor rant, but it annoys me that with even a tiny bit of research the industry could be represented in a much better way.

Notice I didn't mention Partridge? Comedy always gets closer to the truth.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

3 Things PRs Needs To Know.

I was a Senior Journalist, a programme producer, a presenter, and a manager during my 16 year career in the Broadcasting industry. Through that time I identified the 3 things that PR Professionals either don't know or were told years ago and have forgotten.

They are simple, and here they are...

1) JOURNALISTS HATE YOU.

There, I've said it. Every single press release that appears in the inbox tarnishes the soul of the person receiving it and there's nothing that you can do to change it.

It's all to do with the volume going into any reasonably sized news room. The quality threshold for you sending it will be high, their quality threshold for actually doing anything will be far higher; it's a question of scale.

So how do you attempt to get round this, either raise your standards (well that's quantifiable and easily achievable) or you don't send press releases... erm, what?

How about, and this is a break from the norm, that you call your contacts and ask them when the best time to call is, engage them in a conversation that benefits both of you. You may have been sending things to the wrong person for years; I wouldn't deal with companies that called whilst I was on air, if they couldn't work out that I was unavailable between 9 and 12 due to being on the radio then they couldn't have anything that would interest me.

The other reason why Journalists don't like PR Professionals is the memory of the day when they encountered a bad one...

A demanding one...

A 'we're doing you a favour, sunshine' one...

Here's a couple of my favourites...

1) During an interview with Raymond Blanc (he was in a studio elsewhere) he broke off half way through an answer he was giving and said, "oh, I'm sorry I've just been told to let you talk more". I had made no effort to interrupt him, I was delighted how the interview was going and transfixed by his passion, but the PR with him in the studio had decided that he needed to talk less. I replied that the listeners could hear me any day and that I was facinated by what he was saying. The PR in the studio had made me cross and added to my work; I'd have to edit the middle of the interview out.

2) We had been trying to secure an interview with Richard Hammond for months. His PR department were saying 'yes', then 'no' then 'we'll get back to you' I was on-air when the call came through that Richard could do a 5 minute phone interview in the next 10 minutes if we still wanted it and that was the final offer. We said yes, and I started plugging it like mad, telling everyone that we'd have him in 10 minutes. They had insisted that they would call us. Half an hour later we got the call. 'You only have 5 minutes, Richard will bring the interview to an end, don't ask about the crash, he doesn't talk about that any more'. 20 Minutes later we were still going, he'd spoken about everything he wanted to, everything that we wanted to and lots of stuff in-between. The PR had, again, got us all a bit cross.

OK, so these aren't huge problems and I'm being a moaning Presenter, but they make you wary of dealing with the PR industry. Instead of helping the journalist and alowing the media to have an adult conversation about what we want compared to what is offered journalists are treated like irrational hyperactive children who can't be trusted. The vast majority of journalists aren't there to cause problems or try to uncover scandal they just want to do their job and go home.

2) JOURNALISTS JUST WANT TO DO THEIR JOB AND GO HOME

Journalism is a job, it's not a calling or passion, it's a job. In the early days it may start out as something that really drives a young reporter but by the time you've interviewed the 'Local Woman 100 Years Young Today' and found out from the couple 'Married For 60 Years' that the to a happy marriage secret is not stabbing each other in the throat, it all becomes a bit samey.

A news/broadcasting organisation is like a factory. They produce a product made by people with impossible deadlines and angry bosses. They have to hit their targets otherwise the paper is thin or the TV has to go to the test card. They don't want to catch you out, they don't want to make a big song and dance about it, they just want to get the content and go home before it all starts again in the morning.

However... (and there is always an 'However') That doesn't mean that if you try to fob them off they wont bite. Journalists don't like to be given half a story, they can smell a 'real' story like a big lad can smell a Greggs, and there is no stopping them if they catch a whiff. They all like to get the stories that seem hidden, so be honest with them and they will leave satisfied, all full of tasty tasty news.... Sorry I'm still thinking about Greggs.

3) JOURNALISTS LIKE AN EASY LIFE

For about 8 years I put together a market leading Mid Morning Programme. We were 60/40 speech/music so there had to be around 3 stories an hour along side the things that I had to do like News, Travel, Weather etc. For 6 of those years it was me and an assistant that did the whole thing. 2 people making 15 hours of radio a week and within that finding 45 stories a week. Some of those we could get from other members of the news room, but the vast majority were self produced, recorded and edited. So when we were presented with a story that was an 'easy hit' we'd jump on it. It simply meant that we could then use our remaining time to concentrate on the more difficult content.

When I say 'easy hit' I'm not talking about Christine Hamilton talking about British Sausage Week, because no one in their right mind would ever use that (lots of people did I'm sad to say).

The 'easy hit' needs to be pitched correctly. You can't just hand it on a plate as most journalists will just see it as a 'puff piece'. If I were pitching I'd get into a conversation about how I could help it to happen. The Journalist would give the parameters and I'd offer the plan and meet somewhere in the middle. It's content that's interesting enough and it's content that requires little leg work for the journalist.

I did a course a little while ago and one of the delegates said that they do all that, just run around making journalists lives as easy as possible but they weren't taking the stories. Nothing will help if the story is wrong... not wrong for you, but wrong for them.

How do you make it right?

That's for another blog...

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Still Authentic

There are some real winners when approaching a journalist with a story, and one of them is authenticity.

Whose story is it?

The case study is used by every charity organisation; the spokesperson describes just how the charity has helped a specific person and how you can help too. What the good charities, the clever charities do is let the people speak for themselves, let the journalist into the lives of the case study. They get the authentic voice rather than a voice filtered through a spokesperson.

It can work for business just as well as charities, you just need to identify the owner of the story, the person that has the most authentic voice... for example I've been working with an organisation that helps people build their businesses. It's a fascinating group of interconnected projects that really help entrepreneurs. The problem is the stories aren't theirs, they are their clients.

So what do they do?

They facilitate.

They give their clients the chance to tell their stories. The clients become the authentic voice of their own companies and the stories are the authentic voice of the umbrella organisation that facilitated it.

Recently there have been some truly bad marketing and advertising campaigns that get actors to play the part of customers, or of real people who consume a product. They are without exception irredeemable bad. The recent "Philadelphia Cheese" campaign featuring an annoying woman telling us to hide sweetcorn under cheese  is one of the worst ads ever... In my head.

We can tell if it's not authentic and push against it if it isn't.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Tone

The BBC decided that they didn't "own the tone" of the Jubilee Celebrations.

Tone will be the first thing on the minds of commentators and pundits during the Olympic Coverage.

Tone is often overlooked in journalism, as it is in most forms of communications work.

So what is tone? How can you define it's use in comms? Tone is more than syntax and paradigm; it's the collection of emotional signifiers that connect with an audiences own reading of the import, gravity, & significance of an action or event. It's all the bits in a message that aren't the words...

But, it includes the words...

Those who have completely misread tone include The Sun Newspaper's reaction to the Hilsborough Disaster in 1989 which centres around the collective shock of the event and the subsequent blame-storming.

The coalition Governments Omnishambles budget got the tone wrong. The Chancellor approached it from a "we have to do something about the economy" point of view, the electorate approached it from "I don't want my pasty to be taxed" point of view. The subsequent volte-face and insistence that The Government was listening to the electorate, once again got the tone wrong. At that point they just wanted them to admit to getting it wrong.

The BBC's attempted giddy, carnival coverage of what turned out to be a rousing, formal, slightly sombre celebration along the Thames actually turned out to be flippant and silly and a little bit disrespectful.

When looking at corporate comms (internal and external) the tone needs to be within a consistent framework. What does the brand stand for? What are the core values? How is that presented alongside the information that needs to be disseminated? If we have to comment on a pseudo-political matter what is the tone of the message? The tone becomes the driver of that message, the right words with the wrong tone is more damaging than the wrong words with the right tone...

Do we have to mention Fern Cotton here?

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JOURNALIST WHISPERING - WHAT THEY WANT & HOW TO GIVE IT TO THEM.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

So, you're in a studio...


These are 10 simple steps to make sure that you control a broadcast interview, not them.

1. You can say no.
If they have misinterpreted your story, want to move it into a different context, or they are just a bit pushy and unpleasant; you can say no. They'd prefer an honest no rather than a scrappy interview that doesn't help either of you. In crisis terms if you do say no understand that the refusal will be interpreted badly... so go to step 2.

2. 'Not yet' is a viable option.
The average journalist is eager for content NOW. You may need some time to marshal the people that need to be in place. Be honest enough to tell them that. They are more likely to trust you as a contact and trust builds a splendid working relationship. In crisis terms a written statement saying 'not yet because...' buys time... but not a lot of time.

3. What is the story and what will the angle be?
You need to know what's in the journalists head before you say yes. The angle may be that everyone in your organisation is evil... it forewarns you about difficult questions.

4. Is it for a programme or a news clip?
Programme means longer on-air, news clip is 30 second for a bulletin. This indicates how much work you need to put in setting someone up. The CEO won't be bothered by 30 seconds so an underling may be better. For the full programme experience you need someone who's articulate and briefed.

5. What's the programme remit?
News programmes will be shorter but harder, magazine programmes will be longer and softer (stop giggling). It's all to do with the tone of the interviewer. With so many listen again services, and stations on the internet then there's no excuse to listen to the interviewer before the interview to get a feel.

6. Live, recorded, packaged?
Live or recorded change the tone of what's happening but also changes the opportunity for editing out commercial bits of a recording. Packaged will mean that you interview will only be one element of the audio used. If the story is contentious or difficult for your organisation then expect your detractors to be featured as well as you (see below).

7. Is there anyone else appearing?
The BBC have to tell you this under the fair dealing producer guidelines. The reason? (see above)


8. You will call back.
Unless you are absolutely sure that you can get everything in place and that all concerned are available call back before committing. The journo would prefer to wait for an answer than the answer change. I would advise within half an hour for the call back; even if it's to say that you need more time. If they don't think it's coming together they may dump it and move on.

9. Is there anything that you DON'T want to talk about?
Under fair dealing policy if there is something that you can't won't or wouldn't want to talk about, tell them now. It may mean that they have to change what they're doing, or they may dump it all together, but you want to make sure that if you're invited to discuss 'A' you're not bumped onto the problems with 'B'.

10. You can say 'NO'.
If you're still not happy with the angle, with the story, or if you don't think that you can add something to a speculative punt, say no. It's better to be honest than crap. It all goes back to trust as a contact. However, as already said, if you're in a crisis situation saying 'no' is as bad as being found poisoning the water, with blood on your hands, standing over the body...

Are you a 'not for profit' organisation? Book any media training in August and get a 35% reduction; a 3 hour training session for up to 5 people starts from £299 all in.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Silly Season Vlog.



To celebrate the start of The Silly Season, here's another vlog from the face of JDoubleR, and in case you were wondering the Season officially starts on the 17th of July this year.



Another vlog from the face of JDoubleR

Thursday, 21 June 2012

It's All About The Back Story...

video

And here is all that but in reading words...

I was invited to take part in an "Ask The Expert" event recently, where business people could ask me about their options when contacting the media. What does a press release look like, how do I spin a story to a journalist, that sort of thing.

I love these events because the questions asked are never the questions that need asking. The question that often needs asking of small businesses attempting PR is "Why are you being so middle class?"

As a journalist I'm going to shut down if someone pitches a product, but if someone pitches themselves as a story I'll listen.

Hundreds of small businesses are being run by brilliant fascinating people who have lived a life, they're merchant bankers who are now plumbers, they're welders who are now photographers, they're people who've taken redundancy and retrained to follow their dreams, they are young people who have been so driven that they want to make their first billion by the time they are 30, they are returning mothers who find they have a god given baking skill.

They are brilliant and articulate and interesting and exciting...

Their product launch bores me to tears... but their back story delights me.

Please small businesses of Britain stop being shy about who you are and what you've done; it's not gauche or self-serving to hang the story of the business on you.

It makes complete financial sense.


Saturday, 9 June 2012

27 tips in 2 Vlogs

Here are lots of tips in exciting Vlog form. The first tells you what journalists love and the second discusses why your story may have been ignored.

All from the face of





Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The Perfect Press Release Part 2

When this blog post came through (via @tonywords) I got a bit cross. The original 'research' didn't address the major concern of a busy local multi-media newsroom.

Will it crash my computer?

The attachment / flash-object / animated .gif are enemies of the elderly desktops and servers local media has to deal with.

So what should a press release going to conventional media look like?

1. No attachments.
Don't send pictures to a radio station unless they're requested by the website and then tiny images please. Don't send video to a print outlet, but do tell them it's available.

2. NO ATTACHMENTS; ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?
That includes images in your signature. We know who you are, stop pressing the point.

3. A PDF IS AN ATTACHMENT, DEAR LORD WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?
Lovely as the flyer may be, it's just killed all my other programmes.

4. One screen please.
If you don't put the important bit at the top of the screen then you won't get featured. A newsroom may have 15% fewer staff than last week with a 15% increase in email traffic as everyone tries to get noticed. Journalists don't have time to scroll. If it doesn't engage in the size of a preview panel it gets deleted.

5. Minimal Linking.
As with attachments, if I have to go off to another site then I'm going to be a bit worried that wherever I go will kill everything else. If you need to link to something make it nice and text heavy and NOT a PDF link that will want to download and cause a Blue Screen Of Death.

For more pearls of wisdom join in with this FREE EVENT it's going to be splendid.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Fending off the wolves...

So, your press release has worked, they want to talk to you, they want to know all about the story. Brilliant, that's just what you wanted.

So your company has been caught up in a news story not of your making and they want an interview... what will you do?

So, the shit has hit the fan and you're in crisis mode. The media want to get hold of you. How do you control the situation?

These are 10 simple steps to make sure that you control the story, not them.

1. You can say no.
If they have misinterpreted your story, want to move it into a different context, or they are just a bit pushy and unpleasant; you can say no. They'd prefer an honest no rather than a scrappy interview that doesn't help either of you. In crisis terms if you do say no understand that the refusal will be interpreted badly... so go to step 2.

2. 'Not yet' is a viable option.
The average journalist is eager for content NOW. You may need some time to marshal the people that need to be in place. Be honest enough to tell them that. They are more likely to trust you as a contact and trust builds a splendid working relationship. In crisis terms a written statement saying 'not yet because...' buys time... but not a lot of time.

3. What is the story and what will the angle be?
You need to know what's in the journalists head before you say yes. The angle may be that everyone in your organisation is evil... it forewarns you about difficult questions.

4. Is it for a programme or a news clip?
Programme means longer on-air, news clip is 30 second for a bulletin. This indicates how much work you need to put in setting someone up. The CEO won't be bothered by 30 seconds so an underling may be better. For the full programme experience you need someone who's articulate and briefed.

5. What's the programme remit?
News programmes will be shorter but harder, magazine programmes will be longer and softer (stop giggling). It's all to do with the tone of the interviewer. With so many listen again services, and stations on the internet then there's no excuse to listen to the interviewer before the interview to get a feel.

6. Live, recorded, packaged?
Live or recorded change the tone of what's happening but also changes the opportunity for editing out commercial bits of a recording. Packaged will mean that you interview will only be one element of the audio used. If the story is contentious or difficult for your organisation then expect your detractors to be featured as well as you (see below).

7. Is there anyone else appearing?
The BBC have to tell you this under the fair dealing producer guidelines. The reason? (see above)

8. You will call back.
Unless you are absolutely sure that you can get everything in place and that all concerned are available call back before committing. The journo would prefer to wait for an answer than the answer change. I would advise within half an hour for the call back; even if it's to say that you need more time. If they don't think it's coming together they may dump it and move on.

9. Is there anything that you DON'T want to talk about?
Under fair dealing policy if there is something that you can't won't or wouldn't want to talk about, tell them now. It may mean that they have to change what they're doing, or they may dump it all together, but you want to make sure that if you're invited to discuss 'A' you're not bumped onto the problems with 'B'.

10. You can say 'NO'.
If you're still not happy with the angle, with the story, or if you don't think that you can add something to a speculative punt, say no. It's better to be honest than crap. It all goes back to trust as a contact. However, as already said, if you're in a crisis situation saying 'no' is as bad as being found poisoning the water, with blood on your hands, standing over the body...

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

What does it look like?

The Leveson enquiry juggernaut moves on and on and on, yesterday it left the crumpled injured body of Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt in its tracks. Thankfully he's being given political first aid, including support from the PM.

I thought that there was another injured party; David Cameron himself. He was, however, only clipped by a wing mirror.

James Murdoch talked briefly about a Christmas party at Rebekah Brooks house. He and the PM were there. At the time Brooks was the chief executive of news international and James Murdoch was Chair of News Group Newspapers. Both of them were hugely important figures in the media industry. The party happened 2 days after the Secretary Of State For Business (and other stuff) had his responsibilities for the News Corp BSkyB takeover stripped... The company that both Brooks and Murdoch worked for.

I honestly don't care what went on at that party.

I really don't.

It was probably just a party.

I am hugely concerned that the PM's team isn't asking a really important PR question.

"WHAT DOES THIS LOOK LIKE?"

When working for the BBC I made a number of decisions that had "What does this look like?" at their heart. When invited to events I was the BBC not me; I didn't go to certain events and I didn't get too close to certain issues (usually political) if I thought that there would be questions asked of my journalistic impartiality.

David, seriously, What does this look like?

Monday, 23 April 2012

Don't be SMART

David Cameron was on The Today Programme this morning. His presentation is always confident and slick, to the point where he makes Tony Blair at his Teflon coated best look like Count Arthur Strong.

Well done him.

The thing that really stood out for me was the use of the current 'tag line' of the Conservative Party / Coalition Government. It was mentioned more than once and, sorry Dave, but like all good tag lines it means nothing. It's an emotional signifier that positions the government, but it's devoid of real meaning.

That's what you want from a tag line or corporate slogan, the last thing that you want is addled old hacks picking away at it as if you've lied...

These are some of my favourite meaning free emotion heavy tag-lines.

1) "Hard working families, trying to do the right thing." - David Cameron 2012.
Both 'hard working' and 'right thing' are hugely subjective. They rely on a moral compass judgement. There may be some families who feel that the 'right thing' is to begin a terrorist cell and bring down the government; as for 'Hard working', my idea of hard work is probably different from the PM's.

2) "The better music mix". - GWR Stations from 1997 to 2001 (ish)
GWR Radio stations adopted one of the best lines in radio programming ever. I love the idea that 'better' and 'mix' are quantifiable. It doesn't even say that the music is better than competitors; because they can't say that, chart stations all play the same music. What they do is drop the emotive word 'better' next to the idea that the 'mix' of music played is vastly important. Genius.

3) "Change we can believe in." - Barack Obama campaign slogan 2008
 There's a chain of thought that sites this slogan for reducing the presidents popularity. It goes that change means many things to many people and the change that felt promised (an overhaul of governance and 'the system') never came, instead the change that did come felt too small and too laboured. The change was fought for, batted back, and then compromised. Change happened, but CHANGE! didn't happen. Lovely undefinable 'change' got defined by the people not the president.

4) "The best a man can get". - Gillette 1989 to present.
Here's the full version of the 80's classic
Oh it's just horrible, it really is, but the slogan will remain one of the greats. It has so much weight behind it. It's not just the best razor, oh no, it's the best a man can get... it's the whole package, it's the whole life, and it reached it's height with the 60 second spot and the best power ballad of the age. The slogan itself has been boiled down to have all of the meaning evaporated off and you're just left with a thick sickly emotion filled goo.

So the last thing that you want to be in this slogan / tag line / sound bite world is S.M.A.R.T. so forget your training and come up with something vague...

John Rockley - "Experience the media"

Oooooh, I like that one....

Friday, 13 April 2012

Calm Down Dear.

This week a lawyer got very angry with the BBC 5Live and Peter Alan for getting some details wrong. Without going to deeply into the case, the perceived error in communication was regarded by the lawyer as a great defamation of his client and grouped him together with much more dangerous people. If it was an error then it was a very serious one, if it wasn't then it was very bad diversionary tactics from the lawyer.

There is one simple rule regarding appearing in the media.

Don't get angry.
ever, seriously, don't.

honestly, just don't.

Got the idea?

No one who appears angry has ever swayed the public... passionate yes, angry no.

Just a gentle reminder.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Piggy Back

The "Fuel Crisis" has started again. From the mouth of Francis Maud (whom I've blogged about before) comes a miss guided tip, and the country goes into meltdown.

This is a great opportunity for you. It really is.

Every single Local Radio Station will be talking about the looming crisis, the panic buying and the queues at the pumps; all you need to do is call them and piggy back the story.

Here's how to piggy back.

1) Identify what everyone is talking about.
Last night there was talk of little else, so you should have been thinking of how this story affects your business / charity / organisation. Do you have people on the road? Are you a sole trader who works with their van? What about meals on wheels!

2) Think of a universal line.
If you can say "I bet lots of people are in the same boat" then great. If you can't then think harder. Transport troubles in the world of herpetology isn't shared experience; freelance self employed delivery driver (who happens to cater for herpetologists is) if it means one child will go without their snake then it's terrible.

3) Say what you feel not what you think.
You feel worried that if fuel stocks run out then the old ladies won't get their meals, you are angry at the people who are filling up cars that do tiny mileage a week when you have to fill up every second day, you feel disappointed that this crisis threatens your charities work. Feel don't think.

4) Sound good.
You need to be calm prepared and slick. There's no use calling a phone-in and getting your business a mention when you sound like a school child who's been caught smoking in the bogs. Get the terror out of your head, listen to how the presenter is treating other callers and take your cue from that.

Don't forget that you have to get past the producer first "I want to talk to [insert alliterative local radio name here] about the problems for small businesses / charities / health workers / etc.", they will want you to get to the point, tell them the story and then repeat that on air to the presenter. If you sound normal then you certainly will get on.

5) Don't plug too hard.
A couple of mentions of a company name are fine, but more than that the presenter will pull you up on it and embarrass you. No one wants a public telling off.

6) Don't get drawn into politics.
"So what should the government have done?" and the answer is "I'm not sure about that, all I'm sure of is that my clients won't be happy and I'm not happy about the situation. I've built up "Farnsbarns Industries" over a number of years and this sort of thing could really tarnish our reputation and loose us money; and there are loads of other businesses that are going through the same thing." Lovely. No political argument, well side stepped and moved on. Your company / charity / organisation, unless it is always overtly political shouldn't get into a political debate. When you're on air talking for THEM you can't let personal bias suddenly become your company stance.

7) Be brief enough to get a news clip.
The news clip is the great bit in a bulletin where they lift stuff out of the broadcast and recycle. f you give punchy answers and short sentences it's easier for them to lift what you say and play it all day long. If they don't credit your company name when they do use it, call them and ask them to.

Friday, 23 March 2012

6 Ways to avoid publicity.


I keep seeing over-optimistic blogs talking about the guaranteed ways to get your story covered by the conventional media.

It worries me; even if you follow these guides there are still things that will get in your way.

So why isn't your story featured? These are my top 6 reasons.





1) It's Too Commercial.
No one likes a 'puff' dressed up as a story. In the UK the dominant force in mass market news broadcasting is the BBC. They are a non commercial organisation and every journalist / producer / manager there has been bollocked for writing a 'puff' by accident. They are not going to do it again.

You may think that makes the commercial broadcasters and news media an easy target. No. No they really aren't. The commercial media (if it doesn't charge the users) survives by selling advertising. So why are they going to offer your commercial 'story' space when they would much prefer to charge you for the advertising instead?

2) It's Irrelevant...
...to the audience. Why would you approach an organisation that targets the over 50's with the latest trends in snowboarding?

...to the time scale. If it happened 3 days / weeks / months ago it's no longer news. (as added by @tonybraisby many thanks to him for the reminder!)

...to anyone outside your industry. Target trade press by all means but don't promise to get mass media coverage for the story about new ways to reinforce concrete.

...to anyone other than you. So many self produced press releases smell of "we're really excited about this, but we don't know how to make you excited". If you can't excite me then I'm not going to use it.

3) It's Dull.
Have you just sent information and forgotten to add a story? (see above)

4) It's political.
The BBC will not take stories with a strong political bias unless they can source someone from the other side; that issue kills stories, though it is getting better.

The commercial sector will not ally themselves to a political standpoint that differs from theirs. It's not just the feedback from the audience but also who sits on the board, who owns the organisation, who is married to the editor and who their friends are... For example, the Sun newspaper doesn't like the BBC unless the programme has been made by a Murdoch owned production company (see Masterchef). It's unlikely that you'll know any of this, your story will just be ignored.


5) They don't like you.

Not the organisation but the journalist. You've repeatedly called at the wrong time, you send emails with big attachments that crash their computers, you call the 'Pacific Ocean' the 'Specific Ocean', you never sound engaged with what you're doing, you push for too much coverage, you have unrealistic expectations, you don't know the producers name, you're attempting to be funny, you're not funny at all, you have stupid shoes, you drink mineral water with a twist, you have black rimmed 'marketing' spectacles, you don't understand that we are the powerful ones, you let us down last time, you promise things that you can't deliver, and (in the words of @dabberdave)
"you said "look at this attachment which has all the details in it" rather than copy and pasting the text of the it into the body of the email; that way when the journo is skimming through the hundreds in the inbox they don't have to waste time trying to open the thing. It will probably go straight in the waste bin"
Or, you are just very unlikeable... The story could be great, and we may pick it up from another source, but we won't give you the satisfaction.

6) Someone Else Got It Right.
There's always something else to cover. Always.

6 - a) They're Lazy.
This has been suggested by Ken Goodwin and really deserves a mention - "they might also be a lazy journo who can't see that with some creativity they could make a half decent package out of it"

So very true....

*******************
For more information and training go to JDoubleR Booking and see the current available seminar.

GLOUCESTER 30/04/12  
09.30 - 12.30 
£48 Per person including VAT

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

5 Ways to get invited back.

Finally, you've been booked on to a radio/TV show!

You're the expert that will be explaining that difficult story, you're the one informing the presenter as much as the audience, you'll be the next Martin Lewis, the next Dr Mark Porter, or even the next Greg Wallace (he was a veg expert before Masterchef).

Or you'll be an abject flop. The person that no one remembers, like, you know, thingy...

So how do you get invited back?

1) This is their house not yours.
Show the presenter some respect. They may be an idiot but that's no reason to treat them like one. The questions they ask will be from the point of view of a complete numpty; it's a broadcasting conceit. They're often very well educated and informed. That stupid question is there to allow YOU to explain the story. Grab for the stupid questions and go for it.

2) Talk normally.
You're not on stage; you're sitting in a cafe talking to a friend.

3) There is no audience.
"Good Morning everyone" or "I'm sure your viewers / listeners would like to know..." throws up a wall between you and the audience (the audience that isn't there) and reminds them that they're consuming media; you want them to think that they are part of a conversation. Leading questions from a presenter like "what would you say to someone who hears this and thinks...." that lets you off, you can then frame the answer in the third person i.e. "I'd tell them what I'm telling you, don't do..." etc.

4) Personality is better than accuracy.
Harsh but true. If you can be a personality no one cares about the minutiae... no one cares that you're only talking in broad terms. If you don't talk in broad terms then you're in danger of over explaining to an ambivalent audience.

5) Context, context, context.
Make sure the context is part of your audiences lives. For example if you're a financial expert giving advice on cutting household expenses, talking about a tank of petrol costing £145 just shows an audience of Fiesta Drivers that you're not one of them.

If you get these on your first appearance then you should be asked back, and popped into the contacts book. Then you'll be called first to deal with the [your field of expertise] story.

Unless you say fuck.

No one likes that.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Who are you talking to?

Today I found out that I'm not middle aged.

I feel better for that.

At 37 and a half, I thought that I was well on my way to the furry boots and the tartan blanket; it doesn't help that I enjoy wearing a tweed cap when I'm driving.

"Start The Week" on BBC Radio 4, can be one of those programmes that disappears up its own intellectual pretensions but this week it reminded me of a process that was discredited in the BBC.

It's the process of thinking about your audience in context.

Or to 'Do a Dave and Sue'.

'Dave and Sue' were a composite couple that were created to focus programming on BBC Local Radio. The average age of the journalists in any local radio news room is about 13... or at least that's how it always felt to me. These 13 year-olds were making programmes for people over 50. Sometimes it's a bit of a mental stretch; what a tender young journalist thinks is interesting will often be beyond dull for the 50+ audience they are serving.

In walked 'Dave and Sue', the composite couple that was there to connect the programme makers with the audience; they were born out of the years of quantitative and qualitative demographic research carried out by the BBC.

I thought it was great, for a number of years I was aware that some of the programming was being done to serve the staff and not the audience and I'd worked with the concept in commercial broadcasting. It was going to make everything better by simply adding context.

Bless the BBC for mishandling the whole thing.

No, really, bless 'em all.

Instead of creating a context for the listeners lives, and letting the broadcasters think "This is really important/useful/funny/interesting how do I frame it to pitch properly to 'Dave and Sue' what's the context for them?" They were constantly told to simply ask "what do 'Dave and Sue' like?".

This resulted in very dull radio, lots of caravan features and prostate phone-ins.

All 'Dave and Sue' were was a tool for providing context by bringing together the demographic research. They became a tool for defining output.

Listeners left in the bucket load from all but a very small number of stations. The station I was working for was one of the 4 out of 40 who increased listener-ship through the whole sorry episode.

So what does this have to do with being middle aged and Andrew Marr?

As I get older I am surprised by the pitches (advertising, PR, entertainment) that either lacks context or is ruled by it's context because the demographic research says so... Shampoo ads or chocolate ads targeting men in their 30's by using amateur football imagery. Participation in amateur football covers a tiny proportion of the men in their 30's (angling remains the biggest participation sport in the country) and annoys the rest of us. Sitcoms where people just sort of do stuff with no back story because it's kooky and people like kooky...

I could go on.

For a very long time.

Beware the use of demographic research it may mean that you miss the wider context..

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Monitor Your Effectiveness.

A friend of mine has just been interviewed by a communications manager. It was for a fixed term administration post. During the interview she was asked (by the comms manager) How do you monitor your effectiveness?

How do you monitor your effectiveness...

Inside that question is a good question trying to get out.

This seems to be a problem for people working in communications; they deal in corporate BS all day they find it difficult to decompress and start communicating like normal people.

I'm really not sure what "monitoring your effectiveness" means other than taking direct feedback from line managers, colleagues and clients. I suppose you could tie that in with concrete results in a sales environment but this was for an admin role. Do you have to produce a chart with your percentage of filing accuracy?

Can we all stop, take a breath and start to talk normally again?

If you are asked (in a journalistic environment) a question that sounds corporate or (for want of a better word) bollocks; turn it round ask them to explain the question as most of the time they won't know either.

Monday, 27 February 2012

"Make Sure She Cries!"

I clearly remember the day that I was leaving to talk to a family who had lost their father and husband to a terrifyingly fast form of Motor Neurone Disease. She was trying to raise money for the charity 'Winstons Wish' who had helped her and her children through the most awful time that a family can imagine.

I picked up my recording device, put my branded "I'm official" jacket on and was about to walk out of the news room when I heard my co-producer shout "Make sure she cries!".

Harsh, but fair.

Emotion sells, emotion fixes memory, emotion keeps you listening in the car with your shopping in the boot and the ice cream melting.

Emotion makes a human connection.

You need to ask yourself 5 questions to get the emotion into your press engagement.

1) What is the story?
Repeat it to yourself as you peel back the layers from your press release. What is the story? What is the story? The story is never what you first think it is because we are always asked to deal with the functional not the emotional.

2) Why should I care?
Not why should you... put yourself into the position of your audience and ask yourself "Why should I care?" "because" isn't an answer. This isn't a question of functionality this is a question of an emotional response. "Care" is not the same as "interested".

3) Where are the people?
It's not about things it's about people. You need to find the people. Are they the consumers, the producers the stake holders? What has their input been, how do they feel about it?

4) Should I tell the story?
Why are you writing about this? You may have never been involved or even care about what you're trying to get out there; so get the people that DO care to write it. Interview them, get their words, not a corporate quote but their story behind the story that you're pitching. If you're a charity or not for profit, get the case study out. The power of the normal person who has been affected (good or bad) telling their story in their own words should not be underestimated. It takes away the filter of PR and gets the audience closer to the action.

5) Should I make them cry?
Don't try. The journalists and the audience will see through you if you try, but if that is your genuine response then it will without a crude manipulation.


For more on "Journalist Whispering" Join the seminar.

£55 per person including VAT (£44 excluding)
09.30 - 12.30, Thursday the 15th of March.
Gloucestershire Enterprise Training Centre, Twigworth Court Business Centre, Twigworth. GL2 9PG

Email for more detail via info@jdoubler.co.uk

Monday, 13 February 2012

The Perfect Press Release

The perfect press release does not exist. No, literally, it's a press release that doesn't exist.

Coming up on the 15th of March I'm holding a seminar to look at the ways that small business and sole traders can take advantage of the media in the same ways that the well-connected big businesses can and my starting point is the press release.

I hate press releases.

During the time that I was a professional broadcaster, producer and journalist I can't remember a time when I covered a story from an unsolicited press release, from an unknown contact.

It never happened.

So why didn't they work? In an average day I would get at least 200 emails, two thirds of which were press releases; of those press releases three quarters would be from people that I'd dealt with before, and of those the majority would be from media companies whose job it was to place interviews for their clients. So I had to make a decision between trusted sources and unknown quantities... I'd go for the trusted sources.

You have to put this into the context of how a radio newsroom works and the sort of staffing involved. I presented for a station that had 100,000 listeners. I presented and produced the programme with the second highest figures but the longest hours of the station. I was the most important voice on the station after 9. So how many people were working on this behemoth? Yes, that's right, there were 2 of us and as much help as we could buy in...

2 of us to producing and presenting 15 hours of live radio a week. Both working 8 hour days. 3 of those hours were on air 1 hour would be preparing before the show and 1 hour was eating lunch. That gives you a grand total of 3 hours production time a day to find around 35 stories to broadcast each week.

I don't want to give the impression that I didn't love the job, it was great, it's just that the perception of what presenters producers and journalists have to do is very different from the outside. I used to meet people who would assume that I worked 3 hours a day and had everything done for me by a team of minions. Not in the provinces.

So back to the press release issue. If I only had 3 hours to deal with things the fastest way would be to go to the sources that I knew would deliver value and, the chances are, I wouldn't even read past the headline of the unsolicited press release from someone new.

I have to say that this revelation of modus operandi is no shock to anyone who's worked in any news room outside the nationals or network. You have to do what gets the job done.

So where does that leave you as a small business or a sole trader with a wonderful story? It leaves you with one option that a lot of the big boys forget, it leaves you with an option that so few people attempt because it fills them with fear. It may be that you are able to pin competitors to the floor in business but as soon as you step outside the comfort zone it all changes.

What do you do??

You make a phone call....

Scary eh?


For more on "Journalist Whispering" Join the seminar.

£55 per person including VAT (£44 excluding)
09.30 - 12.30, Thursday the 15th of March.
Gloucestershire Enterprise Training Centre, Twigworth Court Business Centre, Twigworth. GL2 9PG

Email for more detail via info@jdoubler.co.uk

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Football, the national game.

I need to make sure that you understand I don't hate football. Football (if you want to play it) is a healthy sport that builds muscle and apparently builds character.

Nothing against football. I was a handy goal keeper in my school days (to about the age of 10); so what happened at the age of 10 to lead me to write this angry blog.

At the age of 10 I realised that what I thought was just a jolly game was far more than that to the other boys. It seemed important to them, and when I said that it was just a game they got cross with me. It was like I'd said to the Pope 'It's just a lot of singing and mumbling this Christianity stuff isn't it.'

From that day I lost all interest.

So why am I so angry?

There are many reasons, today it is Fabio Capello and the arrogance of those that like football.

It was announced that Fabio Capello had resigned as the England manager; not as many people seem to think the manager of the country of England, but the manager of the England Association Football Team. At a time of international uncertainty and near civil war in Syria that may destabilise the increasingly fragile relationship between the UN Russia and the rest of the world, the news that a man had resigned from managing a sports team was the lead item in all of the bulletins and all of the rolling news coverage.

I can forgive rolling news, they have so little to report most of the time that snow sends them into paroxysms of delight; so the resignation of a sports team manager made them reach a shuddering sporty climax.

But the rest of you journalists. Shame on you.

Did you know, and this fact comes under the official secrets act in this country, that lots and lots of people don't like football; and some others don't care either way. Did you know that? I know amazing, and your heard it here first.

The Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 took a measured view. They know their audience. The England Team news was in the sports news, the 3rd item in the headlines and the discussion at 08.55 when most of their listeners have got into their office and turned the radio off.

However, there was the terrifying assertion from one of their guests that 55 Million people in the country have a view on who should take over the job as 'England Manager'. 55 Million. This is the out of date but often taught number of people that live in the UK. The assertion is that everybody likes foot ball.

This is why I'm pink with anger.

This is what I hate about football.

I hate the rock solid arrogance of the people who like football. Please understand, just because you like it doesn't mean everyone else does. Out of that quoted 55 Million 29 Million are Female (adjusting for the lack of old men) and even if some of those females like football many of the rest are under 5 and some JUST DON'T CARE ABOUT THE ****ING FOOTBALL!!!!

Ehem, sorry about that. There is never any other view put forward to balance the idea that people like football. The figures speak for themselves. More people watch soap operas in a week than watch football. Why isn't the latest plot twist from 'Coronation Street' on the news?

For many years news rooms around the country were run and staffed by men. There is a feeling that having testicles makes you like football. Sports news became news because the people who liked it were in charge. The big football clubs then gave some splendid treatment to those broadcasting it so the journalists started to get used to it, and since then no one has ever questioned its value. (apart from me)

Here's the stupid thing. The broadcasters PAY the CLUBS to broadcast games. They PAY a massive entertainment industry that charges £40 a ticket to ADVERTISE their company. THEY PAY THEM. So, let's get this straight. If I asked a national broadcaster to feature my business all afternoon and then to pay me for the privilege what reaction would I get?

In short (yes I know it's too late for that) Football is an entertainment industry supported by the men who set up the papers and the radio stations. It's as relevant as reporting on what Justin Bieber is going to wear on his next tour; and when you go into Manchester on a Saturday afternoon and the 2 big teams Manchester United and Manchester City are both playing games at home... have you noticed how the shops are empty?

Yeh, right.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

How to take advantage of the Phone-In

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that Phone in programmes are for the insane.

Broadcasters know it, producers know it, and the listening public suspect it; because only extreme views are shared. It's like getting into a taxi and expecting a level headed discourse on the banking crisis that accepts it's partially our fault due to our acceptance of an extreme consumer society and our inability to differentiate between 'want' and 'need'.

The problem starts when a lazy producer thinks 'what's everybody talking about?' and comes up with the easy hit of 'Do you think [insert obvious shouty subject here] or [insert opposing view here] I'd love to hear what you think.'

They don't want to hear what you think, they really don't.

What they want is entertaining radio filled with opinions that get people cross and make them call some more. The full switch-board on a phone in isn't because they have asked an interesting question it's because they've asked an easy question.

So where do you come in?

Where does your business fit in with this vast swathe of lunacy?

Well, here's the thing, after a few weeks producing a phone in programme you yearn for a normal caller; a caller who doesn't have flecks of foam at the corner of their mouth. So when you receive a call from a business person who is measured and intelligent, who can use the right "journalist whispering" language, the heart beat quickens and you really want them to go on air and explain it for all the crazies out there.

The great thing for the business is that you get more exposure, you get the name out to a possible audience of hundreds of thousands and you are remembered by the producer... then the next time they need a business person who can talk fluently they know who to call.

For more on "Journalist Whispering" Join the seminar.

£55 per person including VAT (£44 excluding)
09.30 - 12.30, Thursday the 15th of March.
Gloucestershire Enterprise Training Centre, Twigworth Court Business Centre, Twigworth. GL2 9PG

Email for more detail via info@jdoubler.co.uk

Friday, 3 February 2012

Expert Help for Small Business

There are some things that small businesses need to do... and they do them, and there are some things that small businesses need to do but they don't. Often it's because they fall outside the field of experience, some times it's just the feeling that, well, it's all a bit difficult and scary.

PR is one of these things. There are hundreds of businesses that are watching competitors grow because they have been in the paper, they were on the radio or there was that bit about [insert business your type here] and they interviewed [insert name of your competitor here] on the 6 o'clock news. How did they get there?

There are ways that any business, big or small can get into the conventional media.

1) Know how journalists think.
Journalism is a miss-understood profession. The things that drive journalists are far simpler than the search for exclusives and exposes.

2) Know how Journalists work.
Disappointingly they don't all rush into news rooms with their trilby's on their heads shouting 'Hold the front page'.

3) Know how to take advantage of Journalists.
No, not like that...

4) Know where the sweet spot is.
This is something that I've realised over my 16 years of being in news rooms. There is a sweet spot for journalists and it all revolves around the idea of Effort going into a story, the Quality of the final story and the overall Feedback once that story has been published. Journalists may say that they are in it to tell the truth, but one of thier drivers is the praise that they get... like anyone else really.

So the best story for everyone is the one that takes all their effort becomes a great quality story that gets lots of praise; that is DIFFICULT, so let's put that to one side.

For the Journalist the PERFECT story is one that is great quality that gets praise and awards but takes little or no effort. I've witnessed a few of those in my time and it's brilliant for an organisation to achieve that. It is, however almost impossible to engineer that without the journalist pulling the plug with a sense of 'too good to be true... so it isn't'.

The everyday REALITY of journalistic life is that you really make an effort on a story, that turns out not to be as good as you thought, but you put it out anyway and no one really cares. Most of the TV, Radio, and News Paper content is stuff that was really good in the news meeting and then it became average when it came to publishing/broadcasting.

The sweet spot for most businesses sits at the end of this chart. It's the story that is HOPED FOR. It's the story that takes just enough effort for the journalist to feel happy that they have done a days work, it's good enough to be above average so the effort feels even better and it receives more positive feed back than expected (from audience, management & peers). It's a story that every business, with a little preparation can produce.

5) Get your timing right.
If what you want to say is said when they don't want to listen what's the point?

6) It's the way you tell 'em.
Frank Carson was right...

To help with all of this I'm holding a 3 hour seminar on the 15th of March at The Gloucestershire Enterprise Training Centre in Twigworth. There are a limited number of places available and we'll go through how you get great PR without writing a single press release. To book a place click here and email me, John Rockley. I'll send you more information and a booking form.

Take Advantage Of The Media (or PR without Press Releases for Small Business.)

Thursday 15th of March 2012. 9.30 to 12.30

£55 per person including VAT

Gloucestershire Enterprise Training Centre
Twigworth Court Business Centre,
Tewkesbury Road,
Twigworth,
Gloucestershire.
GL2 9PG

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