The thing that annoys me most about working in Public Relations is the lack of control.
I can spend hours researching the publication, chatting to the journalist about what they want, crafting the article, hovering over the photographer while he takes the perfect shot and sending everything in ages before the deadline… and there’s still the chance the editor might not run the piece.
There are a million reasons why he or she might make this decision – all beyond my control and all of which sound like excuses to a client.
“There was some last-minute breaking news” – “They sold extra advertising so there wasn’t any space” – “It was too similar to a recent piece” (and ‘recent’ is always a frustratingly vague timescale) etc.
It is, of course, up to the editor what he or she puts in their publication. All PR consultants like me can do is build relationships with the journalists, research the publication thoroughly and respect deadlines, style guidelines and previous content to maximise the chances of their contributions making it. There are no guarantees.
Sometimes, though, it all comes together beautifully.
Last week, for example, I placed two centre-spread articles for a client within six days. On Monday, the Daily Record ran a two page feature on the managing director’s challenge to balance being a working mum and on the Sunday the Sunday Post ran a 400 word article on the company’s new tour to Northern Ireland, complete with a fantastic picture.
I was delighted – and so was the client!
I’d love to say it was easy – but both required a hell of a lot of legwork. I was pretty confident both pieces would make it, for various reasons which I’ll hold as trade secrets, but it was still a huge buzz to see them in print.
Luckily these successes far outweigh the frustrations – and I’ve worked really hard to build the trust with my clients that, even if one story doesn’t quite come off, I’ll have something else up my sleeve.
It’s a fun game, in the end, as long as you’re smart to the rules 😉