Less is always more… even in PR

By Alice McCutcheon

As we celebrate Oracle’s 7th Birthday, there is still nothing more satisfying than seeing our client’s names in the press, knowing that we’re the ones who put them there. We apply our knowledge and skill to create a strategy that gives our feature and news angles the best chance of appearing in print and our success rate is often down to the thought that goes into targeting the right journalist.

Reaching out to the right journalist can be a deal-breaker. Asking the questions; ‘who is going to be interested in this story?’ and ‘which audiences are going to be invested in this brand?’ and matching the answers to a media title’s core readership is the best place to start. This leads to the crucial element of the sell-in; who to contact.

This is when experience, knowledge and long-standing relationships come in. We invest a great deal of time into getting to know journalists. It’s a bit like building up a profile. We like to know which subjects they are particularly interested in and what they tend to write about. Personal details are also helpful.

Of-course sometimes there is an element of luck involved. A great example of this sprang to mind when I was considering this topic. During my first job in PR (a long, long time ago), when I was working for the actress Rebecca Lacey, I was selling in a piece she’d written about her last day on the set of the BBC TV show Casualty and decided to contact features at The Guardian – not exactly target audience one would presume. However, to my delight I struck gold and literally stumbled across a writer on the team who happened to pick up the phone to me, was a huge Casualty fan and bit my arm of for the piece. It appeared as a double page feature the following week. Obviously I wouldn’t deploy or advocate this strategy now and thankfully, these days we don’t need to. Twitter and Instagram give us a great insight into what journalists and opinion leaders watch, eat, like, dislike and randomly obsess about, so we don’t need to leave these things to chance quite so much.

This probably sounds time consuming, but in fact it’s the opposite. Instead of firing out twenty emails, it means we can hit the nail on the head with just one.