By John Humphreys
“I hope you are well…”
The emails always follow the same format: “My editor has asked me to contact you…telephone interview…free of charge article…on your business’s success and plans for future growth.” It’s at this point my hand completes its journey to sound the klaxon for defcon one.
So what if you have the Barcelona Principles tattooed somewhere only the doctor sees? Who cares if you enjoy warming your hands in the afterglow of a classic @wadds rant about AVE? Chances are somebody somewhere in your workplace still gets a warm and fuzzy feeling when they see a multi-page spread focused solely on your organisation.
The piper, in this instance, is paid by way of providing a list of key suppliers’ details to the publication, so that they may “Offer them the opportunity to support the feature.” (A career in PR beckons…)
These ‘editorial assistants’ – they don’t quite have the gall to call themselves a ‘journalist’ – have been hoodwinking people the length and breadth of the country for a good few years now. It’s time it stopped.
The generic magazine titles are matched in anonymity by their obscure publishing house, located on the floor above Wernham Hogg. Their entire portfolio is infected with the blandest of title names, each aiming a parasitic tentacle at a vibrant, profitable industry: food production; manufacturing; construction; engineering etc.
It’s easy to dismiss these enquiries as a mere inevitability and an inconvenience: block the address and move on. But we have a duty of care to our organisation or client and also to our industry. If it wasn’t succeeding, it wouldn’t perpetuate. Our suppliers deserve better and bad coverage gives PR a bad name. And if that isn’t reason enough, media fragmentation and democratisation will necessarily invoke one question more than any other, when discussing your corporate reputation: “Says who?”
John Humphreys is Corporate Affairs Manager for Shepherd Neame Ltd
Image courtesy of pixabay