Friday, March 23, 2007

Ten thoughts on.... PRs and press

I did a meet the editors event last night at the plush HQ of PR company MC2. I was alongside a top chap called Tony McDonough from the Liverpool Daily Post. These were 10 of the questions we were asked and my attempts to answer them.

1 Liverpool and Manchester have a history of being in stiff competition, do you think this is still the case now or is it getting better?
It's getting much better. Liverpool and Manchester peacefully co-exist. I'm always amazed at how very different they are. I think Manchester is becoming the London of the North, however. Investement is therefore being sucked out of Blackpool, Lancashire and Leeds towards this incredible success story.

2 We work for a number of small clients and always put them forward for features. We’ve noticed that although our comments are submitted in plenty of time and are of excellent quality, they usually get bumped out of the feature in favour for the bigger competitors. Can you explain why this happens and also, how to avoid it in the future?
We don't bump out small companies because they're small, but small companies can be cautious.

3 What sort of stories do you get really excited about?
Frauds, overnights successes, political intrigue, hostile takeovers.

4 What makes a good interviewee?
Someone who is prepared to say the unothodox, or the different.

5 Have you ever considered turning to the ‘dark side’ and becoming a PR?
No. But I do PR for Insider all the time.

6 What are your pet hates?
I don't hate anything, I'm a Christian. But London PRs asking if we cover Middlesbrough in North West Business Insider are a little bit irritating.

7 Will the BBC move to Manchester be great news for the media in the region?
I hope so, but I fear not. They are not moving any centres of commissioing power and only one network - Radio 5 - which is the most regionally friendly of them all. I think financial services is a much more important economic success for Manchester.

8 What is the one thing that a PR can do to immediately grab your attention?
Say they've got an exclusive story with unique access just for us.

9 What are the things they do that immediately put you off using their clients?
I never blank a PR company, but you detect trends. Missed opportunities frustrate. We constantly seek stories from successful businesses - metal bashers from Bacup - who only seem to want to talk about what they did on Red Nose Day.

10 Who is the most interesting person you have ever interviewed and why?
In the last year the most interesting people I interviewed were Terry Matthews and Brian Kennedy. They just don't seem to want to stop, and I wanted to find out why.

4 comments:

40 Days said...

Liverpool and Manchester have a history of being in stiff competition, do you think this is still the case now or is it getting better?

What’s wrong with competition? Get over it. Competition between Liverpool and Manchester is no different or at a greater level than any other region with two roughly equivalent cities – Glasgow/Edinburgh, Calgary/Edmonton, etc. Competition is healthy where it keeps the socks pulled up but demeaning and parochial where the rivalry is limited to an us vs them culture.

2 We work for a number of small clients and always put them forward for features. We’ve noticed that although our comments are submitted in plenty of time and are of excellent quality, they usually get bumped out of the feature in favour for the bigger competitors. Can you explain why this happens and also, how to avoid it in the future?

The short answer? Your understanding of quality and mine likely differ.
Size does matter in certain cases – which would you rather like to know, the views of head of a global corporate on the economy or the views of the cornershop owner? But where views of people from large and small companies is equal, the unusual and authoritative always wins.

3 What sort of stories do you get really excited about?

The one that isn’t obvious

4 What makes a good interviewee?

Someone who isn’t media trained to answer my questions with their ‘key messages’.

5 Have you ever considered turning to the ‘dark side’ and becoming a PR?

Yes . It was shit

6 What are your pet hates?

Companies that employ twits to waste my time by ringing me up and asking ‘Did you get my press release?’.

7 Will the BBC move to Manchester be great news for the media in the region?

More like Okay news. It’s a sop to the ‘regions’ much watered down since Greg Dyke was ousted.

8 What is the one thing that a PR can do to immediately grab your attention?

Tell me something I haven’t heard before/don’t already know

9 What are the things they do that immediately put you off using their clients?

See answer to question six. Promising or agreeing to something that isn’t delivered, ie. lying.

10 Who is the most interesting person you have ever interviewed and why?

General Charles Krulak. I’ve never met someone so opposite to me in temperment and politics, so recently emerged from the corridors or power, and yet so candid and refreshing in his views and clearly charismatic.

Anonymous said...

Holy hell, you're a fuckwit, Taylor.

Armley said...

Manchester becoming the "London of the north". What nonsense.

London's size and importance is so huge that it dominates the whole of the UK, not only its own region. Manchester does not even do that in the Whitehall-invented "North West" region. Liverpool is now, again, providing real competition to Manchester in business, retail and also air travel. Forget the politically-motivated regional aid-type decision to shift some BBC output to Manchester. This will be downsized now that the lisence fee settlement has been made. A new Brown or Cameron government will have its own priorities and agenda and whatever staff or functions are relocated to Salford will naturally and inevitably drift back to the centre of this London-based organisation in time. Also, do not underestimate just how unpopular this decision with this the BBC's London staff. You may have bought into the Manchester regionalist propaganda machine's line that Manchester is a northern Shangri La, a booming cosmpolitan city of international importance that outclasses everywhere in England besides London. They don't; they still think it's a grim, crime-filled milltown shithole.

They're wrong, btw. I think Manchester's okay. I'd rather live there than I would London for a start. It's not a bad place. Of course, its not what the Manchester lie machine wants the world to think it is, especially in how is compares to the other large cities in the UK. For example, it is much uglier than Newcastle, Glasgow, Liverpool and even Leeds. It is less economically successful than Bristol, Glasgow, Edinbugh and Leeds. It is more crime-ridden than Liverpool, Sheffield and Birmingham. These are just to pull out a few comparisons. Let me know if want the relevant statistics (all from the govt sites: wwww.statistics.gov.uk and www.crimestatitics.org.uk).

The north of England also has other large cities that are far from being in the shadow of Manchester. How on earth you have come to the inclusion that Manchester is sucking investment into Leeds is must be beyond everyone in West Yorkshire, as well as me. Leeds is booming, its economy is growing faster than Manchester's and has done for years and its GNP/head outstrips Manchester by a long way.

Remember that, however, that Manchester's renaissance, although publicly funded to a large extent, has been impressive to an degree, but has happened after a period of massive economic decline, rather like Liverpool's. The scars of this are still visible when one travels out of Manchester city centre in any direction. Leeds did not experience such a decline and is a smaller city and its post-80s growth has been stronger. Essentially is has had fewer cracks to paint over than Manchester has.

Manchester will never be a London of the north. Thank God, one city warping the natural economic life of the entire country in its favour is enough. However, it will remain what it is now, a large, regional city, undergoing a revival and bigger than most, but not all other regional cities, but one amongst many such places, all of which are reviving and, to a degree, in competition with all of them, including Liverpool.

Wake up, Michael.

Michael Taylor said...

How can anyone ask you for statistics if you don't say who you are?