PR, Films and Fantasies

The all time expert

Posted on: July 7, 2010

One thing I learned about PR after spending a couple of months in agencies is that working in it can be quite mentally challenging. As a PR professional (especially if working in an agency), you have to know a bit about everything or have the ability to become an expert in any field with just a 10 minute briefing.

Over the past three weeks I did small PR jobs for clients in fashion, lifestyle, culture, B2B, celebrity and sports. I had to learn and write about the latest Fashion Week trends, high-end properties in London, lives of millionaire, fitness equipment, football, financial benefits of the UK and so on. You simply can’t sound like an amateur when on the phone with the media so you have to be prepared for any tricky question. I obviously liked it as I had the chance to find so many interesting facts (like what makes a house cost 60million pounds) and also deal with all sorts of journalists who each talks, writes and answers phone calls differently.

But at the end of the day, I always had the feeling that my press release or my extra-information-emails sounded plain and cheesy. I actually felt that I was more of a marketing agent than the PR professional you learn about in school. Does agency work mean that the copy you send across is less valuable? Do journalists actually have no interest in details or backgrounds? Or are readers too shallow to look for great stories written in a classic style?

It all seems to be chatty, light-hearted style! It’s all booms, bums, greatest product, most amazing company, the perfect day out… we speak in patterns!!!

So who started all this? PRs or journalists? Because the general thing at the agencies I’ve been to is to check previous stories and approach writers in the style they use. Shouldn’t this go on more formally? I wonder if in house things go differently…


1 Response to "The all time expert"

It’s both. Journalists are sometimes lazy and would rather have you write the news for them (that’s why they like newsy, readable press releases that they only have to tweak here and there).

And PR people sometimes forget that customers are smarter than chimps and that they would like some realistic information about the product instead of a bunch of teen-magazine-style press releases. I think that not falling into one of these categories makes you a real pro (both in PR and as a journalist). If you don’t believe me, I can send you a top ten of the most stupid press releases I ever got 🙂 It will make your day, I promise.

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