How Your PR can Lose Friends and Irritate People

I have been reading the trade press again.  This time it was PCPro – a publication that has been popping through the door at AM Towers now for more than a decade.  We pay for this, it is that good.

PCPRo magazine stack

High quality editorial is worth paying for.

Specifically it was an aside by Paul Ockenden, who writes about mobiles and apps, telling of recent exchanges with Apple’s public relations company.  It seems that they are unwilling to supply review phones without promises that he will be both prolific and kind in his comments.

Close of Pual Ockeden article in PCPro

Apple's PR machine should not strong arm journalists.

We all know that there are branches of the trade media where not just the add space, but every word from cover to cover has been sold to those prepared to pay.  These journals have their place, but discerning readers know that there is little value and objectivity in what they write – or more likely repeat from submitted press releases.

There are others, PCPro being one, where you can depend on the objectivity of the editorial.  The old business model prevails – good, objective and reliable content brings high value/volume readers and this attracts the advertising that supports the whole cycle.

Being a B2B PR company we have never been in the business of placing product with journalists, but we do place client stories.  There are three criteria we consider: magazine reach, profile and credibility.

PCPro reaches over 67,000 ABC certified readers of whom about 65 percent are subscribers (source http://www.dennis.co.uk/brands/pc-pro).  And who are these people?  Well they are IT and telecoms professionals, opinion leaders, the kind of people with budgets to spend and who are highly influential on others who hold budgets.  And do these people view the publication as credible?  Well here I guess the core subscribing readership gives you the answer – no one would lay out for a full years subscription unless the content was both readable and reliable.

Apple PR has certainly shot itself in the foot.  The relationship between PR professionals and journalists needs to be one of trust and mutual respect.   Trying to strong arm a journalist to get good copy is not a wise tactic.  After all a journalist will always have the last word!

Kevin Ainsworth, Partner, Ainsworth Maguire Public Relations

View Kevin Ainsworth's profile on LinkedIn

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