When news just isn’t news – by April Fool

Mystery journalist breaks no news

Much sniggering at Press For Attention HQ this morning when the Insider team indulged in a little April Fools’ Day shenanigans.

Here’s the teaser that greeted me when I opened the newsletter:

Major deal done for undisclosed sum

A major East Midlands company has today made an acquisition of an unnamed company for an undisclosed sum. One of the advisers on the deal, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “This is a cracking deal and sends out a clear message that the professional and financial community can work together to complete deals.”

Now, I wonder just how people actually clicked to open that story and read on, not realising the mirthful motives of the editorial team (obviously I did but strictly for research purposes!).

So, why bring this up on this blog? Simple. It is very hard sometimes to disclose sensitive information in press releases. One of the main reasons PR’s use them is to exert a small measure of control over the message – everything the journalist needs should be in there and they shouldn’t need to go “digging around for more” upsetting applecarts etc.

However, there is a balance to be struck.

If you want a journalist to give you some nice, shiny, free editorial, you need to play ball and give everything that you can that might be of interest. There will be times when you can’t – I’m surrounded by so much FSA red tape at times it is stifling – but do remember, if you can give figures do so.

If you can’t, be honest about it early on when you call (you do call them sometimes don’t you?) and try to at least give something else in return; a glimpse into the future of the business, what the £X of funding will mean for you/your client, how they will invest their little pot of gold.

Which brings me to a final point. Stories about financial backing and growth don’t have to have HUGE numbers associated with them. Everything is relative. If turnover or profit has doubled, that is HUGE, if the number of employees hired means you are bursting at the seams, you don’t need to be in a 40,000ft2 office rubbing shoulders with Google over novelty baked goods.

Context is key. Make sure you communicate it and you have a far better chance of being helpful to a journalist. Then, they may help you back. Mmmm shiny editorial.

PS – if you want to read the rest of the story click HERE