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Corporate PR factfile

26 June 2015

Gorkana summarises the key learnings from the last six months of our financial and corporate breakfast briefings and 'Gorkana meets...' to give you our top tips for securing coverage.

Corporate PR factfile

Build trust

A lot of broadcast is about planning, says the BBC’s business editor Kamal Ahmed, so he has to trust PRs to get content to him in a timely manner.

Alex Brummer, city editor at the Daily Mail, says it’s not who is in your contact book, it’s who will answer your calls when you need them. He has PRs who he knows will always call him back.

For Ian Lyall, the editor of Proactive Investors, he is looking for long-term relationships with companies, and always prefers to meet management before he starts coverage.

Guido FawkesPaul Staines maintains that the worst thing that a PR can do is lie.

Returning fire

Dan Matthews, editor of Minutehack, is concerned about not being able to return all PR correspondence. He says “a big cause of guilt for me is not being able to physically get back to everyone.”

PRs need to understand that Kiran Stacy at the Financial Times is time poor, and will not be able to get back to everyone. He emphasises that you shouldn’t follow up with a few calls asking if he’s got the email.

Associate editor at Director magazine, Richard Dunnett, asks PRs to understand that it may be a week or so before they get a response to their initial email. He compares follow-up calls to unwarranted PPI approaches.

Dial-moving content...

Dafydd Rees from Bloomberg TV wants content that is going to “make the City stand up and listen.”

For Financial News’ deputy ed Paul Hodkinson, if a story is good enough, he won’t be waiting until the weekend is over to get it online.

Business Insider's tech reporter, James Cook, likes content that he can get online fast. The BI team are ready to jump on it straight away and provide “an explanation or analysis that you won’t find elsewhere.”

...but be modest enough to know when it won’t work

Sometimes the content might be creative, but just doesn’t fit with what you’re doing, says Minutehack’s Dan Matthews.

Content that will work for a trade publication might not fit into a national newspaper. “The Independent only five business pages – if HSBC is imploding, are we going to find space to include a survey?”, asks the Evening Standard and Independent’s retail correspondent, Simon Neville.

Dig deep

“When you are trying to digest information quickly and are going to broadcast that to millions of people, you need PRs who are going to give you the information that matters” – the BBC’s Kamal Ahmed on needing deep material.

The FT’s Kiran Stacey wants to hear about alternate angles and deeper insight that can give his readers something different.

Hannah Strange, managing ed at VICE News EU, might want insightful news from PRs, but she warns that the initial pitch should be clear – “nothing too in-depth and complicated.”

...and context is key

The BBC’s Kamal complains that “people sometimes forget what we’re doing.” He wishes more PRs engaged by saying “I noticed you did x or y, so you might like this.”

City AM’s online editor Emma Haslett wants contemporary trends and figures that are “slightly zany.” Figures, for example, that proved Madonna’s stage fall at the BRITS was directly to increased album sales, would be perfect.

Context is vastly important for Brentford TV’s John Dale, who cites ‘relevance’ as the key to PR approaches.

Video content

Paul Hodkinson of Financial News wants PRs to suggest clients to appear on its webcasts, but only if they are “senior, high-profile figures.”

Director is looking to run more video content that can be put online quickly.

Ian Lyall, editor of Proactive Investors, explains what he wants for Stocktube, its video channel: “We are interested in analysts who have something interesting and insightful to say about our core franchise - growth markets. Companies should be prepared to explain what they do concisely while answering the question: ‘Why should I invest?’”

Over rehearsal is overkill

Guests shouldn’t fall victim to over-rehearsal and sounding like they have the line ready. In Kamal’s opinion, it “sounds like they aren’t listening to the question.”

Caroline Hyde, anchor on Bloomberg TV’s EMEA segment, gives the following advice to prospective guests: “We want your expertise and your analysis, so we only want to bring out the very best in you. So come on and enjoy it, but be humble enough to know it’s about the expertise and the trends, and not particularly about what you are selling.”

The role of the PR remains invaluable

Director’s editor, Lysanne Currie, remains buoyant about the role PRs have to play in the magazine. In her words, “She loves working with PRs.”

Beranger Guille, EMEA editor at Mergermarket, thinks that engaging with comms personnel is “very valuable” if it allows his reporters to get a scoop on a big deal or access to the upper echelons of the M&A market.

PRs are the lifeblood of what Minutehack does, says editor Dan Matthews. Less PR means less work for him, which is never a good thing.

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