If I'm going to sing like someone else, then I don't need to sing at all - Billie Holliday

Ellie Calcutt, account manager, Clarion Communications

Overheard: a journalist saying ‘no more emails - my inbox has crashed twice in the last hour due to the number I’ve received about products for the gift guide I’m working on’…

At this time of the year the media receive an abundance of calls and emails with info on various gift ideas from PR agencies - so, getting through to certain editors can be much trickier, and there’s greater competition when it comes to securing product placement opportunities.

Bearing this in mind, PR agencies need to not only have excellent relationships with the media to ensure stand out, but we must constantly come up with new ways to help make products we represent resonate with our contacts. There are a few pointers below that I have found help us PRs along the way…

The first is an excellent understanding of the media: this is developed by PRs through an up-to-date knowledge of their specific interests, past features and a general good working relationship.  When a journalist receives thousands of emails a day, having an editor recognise your name among the sea of addresses helps ensure getting five minutes of their time.  A tailored, interesting pitch will also make a huge difference to getting someone’s attention and sticking in their mind – nothing annoys  a Tech journalist more than a phone call from a PR pitching the latest foodie trend on the market.

The second is the product. Some of us are lucky enough to work with brands that are so sought after that a sell-in can be a joy; take Lindt new Maxi Ball for example - a giant Lindor truffle filled with lots of smaller truffles, which is exciting the inner-child of all media this Christmas.  Other times, a lot of hard work and creativity is needed to get a product to catch the media’s attention, so carefully choosing the most powerful USPs to sell-in will not only result in interest but also brand preference.

There’s something to be said here for PR agencies, but also for the brands we represent: excellent working relationships with the media and an understanding of their remit goes along way, as does interesting and innovative NPD at an extremely competitive time of year.

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