In the world of consumer lifestyle PR, it wasn't long ago when a close, well-managed relationship with a handful of key publications was enough to secure you high profile coverage for a brand and its key products.
Hail the rise of the niche publication and this is simply no longer true. In order to be effective in today's media landscape you need a close, well-managed relationship with a plethora of key titles and if you're a luxury brand, that's another whole extended story. And no, we haven't even got to bloggers, the press and other online media components.
Add the fact that brands are launching a great deal more, a great deal more often and you have a vast web of media messaging with the potential to spin out of control - if not managed effectively.
Don't get me wrong, as a PR practitioner this is an exciting space to be in as the media opportunity for brands has increased substantially and so has the opportunity for good content to be supplied. The problem is that so has the management and control of content and in so many instances we see the lowly PR consultant or account manager spending their hours and days, literally, pushing pictures, prices and paper (well, email).
Where is strategic thinking coming from?
I was horrified recently when in a discussion with a high level consultant (who specialises within lifestyle media communications) exclaimed quite proudly that that was exactly how they spent 80% of their day. Surely, the PR consultant is more than a picture, price and paper pusher and if they are spending their time on this, where is the strategic thinking coming from? Clearly, in some cases it simply is not.
Key to perspective is to look from the other side of the fence - through the eyes of the journalist. The joy of receiving pretty packages fades very quickly as one gets buried under wrappings and ribbons. Not to mention the CD folders, high res images and a seemingly endless stream of emails destined for your inbox on a daily basis. To be on the receiving end is not only overwhelming but also extremely irritating.
So I say to all account managers, consultants or PR managers who are (in) effectively pushing paper, it is time to rise. Rise above the paper and welcome to the digital age where information comes from clouds and the expectation is that it should be available 24/7.
Easy to access, always available
If you want a credit then give the journalist some credit. They are talented, switched on experts in their field so they know what they are looking for and they know what is hot. Lets not 'vomit' our stuff all over them. Surely we will be more effective (and more appreciated) if we put our information in a place that is easy to access, is always available and that they can reference from anywhere, anytime. Yes, that is online.
Whether through an independent press office site or an interactive engaging tool that offers journalists a full content library of current brand content such as PressStick.com, get your channels and content house in order. Then, instead of pushing images through firewalls, you can spend your time designing cracker communication campaigns that push your brand through boundaries and into a new realm.
Lorrianne Cloete is the owner and founder of the Press Room, a Cape Town based boutique PR and marketing consultancy specialising within fashion and retail, as well as the founder and co-owner of Press Stick, an online content portal for the media industry. Contact her on tel +27(0)83 4482557, email and follow @lorriannecloete on Twitter.
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