Most PRs get it right most of the time - the ‘it’ in question being supplying what journalists want, when they want it.
Without PRs, most journalists writing feature material like property (and the same goes for fashion, travel, motoring,food and other ‘soft’ material) couldn’t work efficiently, no matter how we suggest otherwise.
Of course we may ignore PRs sometimes and we know they are enthusiastic about a house, an estate agency or a developer only because they are paid to be so. But even with those caveats, we need them to do our work.
Just occasionally, usually when a journalist needs help very quickly, the best PRs come into their own. Conversely firms without any or good PRs fall down.
Last week was a case in point: I had two newspapers requiring ‘rush’ material. I could provide the words but required case studies and photographs pronto.
I emailed most of my contacts (almost all PRs plus a few developers and agents who operate without in-house or third-party PR).
Almost all the developers and agents without PRs fell at the first hurdle because they couldn’t provide what was wanted quickly enough. The common problems were:
- no case studies, because the agencies and builders in question are quite reasonably too busy to collect the information required to have ‘ready to go’ case studies;
- having photographs of properties that are too low-resolution (again, why should developers and agents know what newspapers require? On the other hand, if they want publicity and editorial, hi-res images are often must-have requirements);
- could not get rapid agreement from clients that images of properties for sale could be sent to journos (this baffles me but it happens often - why don’t agents just ask clients at the outset if pictures used on websites and brochures can be sent to the media too?).
Compared to many property journalists I have a sceptical approach to PRs. I have to remember that they are paid to pump out information - only the positive information - about their clients. But it doesn’t mean that they are not very good at their jobs.
And we are all in a business where PR support for busy estate agents, house builders and property industry commentators is invaluable, to client and journalist alike. Especially on occasions like last week when we need information in the right format at the right time.
So property professionals who want to get their information ‘out there’ to us hacks need not be sceptical about PR: I’m sceptical enough for the both of us, but I still know PR is essential.
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