By William Essex
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Extra info for Can I Quote You on That?: A Practical Handbook for Company Executives Who Deal with the Media
It applies particularly if you’re using public relations (see below), but it’s also worth bearing in mind in any situation where an intermediary has put you into contact with the media. When a journalist calls, or turns up to interview you, there’s a good chance that she will have been told that (a) you’re interesting, (b) you have something interesting to say and (c) that you’re going to say it in an interesting way. You will have been “sold” to the journalist as a potentially useful new contact.
Is this person interested enough to present you effectively? • Surprise. Are there any ideas here that might lift you above the competition? There’s no science to PR, or if there is, it’s second to a range of human qualities that frankly, you should like. In slightly more detail, the role of PR is, first, to generate media-oriented paperwork and ideas for media-oriented paperwork. There are press releases to write and distribute, for example, and surveys to conduct, and whatever other initiatives might be, er, cooked up to generate media attention.
They don’t want predictability. They don’t want the next issue to remind everybody of the previous issue. They want variety, unpredictability, interest. They want originality. They want items of different lengths, colourful pages (or screens), new people, new ideas. They want to surprise the audience. Within the confines of the overall brief (Management Today has to be about management; Investors Chronicle has to be a chronicle for investors) they want to be different every time. Whether they’re preparing the feature pages, the news, the diary, the two-minute item before the sports news, the market roundup, they want something that’s new.