Every day I am one of many journalists who receive releases from PR companies. Often those companies will have been paid hundreds – and sometimes thousands of pounds – by their client to promote their product or business or indeed them.
But the truth is if someone approaches me through my sell my story website Featureworld by themselves (and for free) I am much more likely to take their story on. Which means they, their product or business could end up gaining publicity in the national press, women’s magazine and on TV.
And the reason why you are likely to gain my interest approaching me directly rather than paying for PR is many. I have written quite extensively on how PR companies can most effectively contact journalists and get stories into the national press, magazines and on TV here and here.
However, the bottom line is if someone comes to me directly they are less likely to have sent their press release to all and sundry (the biggest sin of the foolish PR who thinks sending it out en masse is a good idea when we all want exclusive stories), I am dealing directly with the ‘client’ (I don’t have to speak to a clueless middle person – the PR person) and the story is more likely to stand up (PR people tend to embellish stories so when you dig a little deeper they turn out not to be as marketed.)
Unfortunately it appears I am not alone thinking like this. DWPub Blog recently surveyed 400 journalists to find out what they think of PR professionals.
Daryl Wilcox writes: “There was a clear consensus that journalists simply want PR professionals to take the time to understand their media outlet and pitch only relevant, newsworthy stories.
“The survey implied that PR skills, in the eyes of journalists, are not getting any better. When questioned if there had been an improvement in the professional quality of PR people in recent years, 57 per cent of journalists said no, just 15 per cent said yes with the remainder saying ‘don’t know’.”
In other words far too many PR people simply write a general press release – which is not tailored to any one journalist or publication in particular – and then press the send button to tens of journalists on an email list to receive all at once.
Presumably when they get no interest (because no journalist is interested in a press release sent to everyone) they can then tell the client they have sent it to all of these journalists, and justify how they have done their job.
However, the survey did find that PRs who take the trouble to approach journalists individually with well researched ideas and well written press releases are ‘worth their weight in gold.’
Meanwhile if you are trying to get publicity contact Featureworld for free for an honest opinion on gaining publicity in a national newspaper, magazine or on TV.