They all feature in conversations our media intelligence team have been having recently!
The symbiotic relationship between digital PR professionals and journalists in the communications ecosystem is constantly evolving. To stay on top of their game, our team of media relations gurus have been hard at it. Here’s a quick roundup of their latest insights.
Keen to ‘jazz up’ its education offering, the BBC secured the services of Hazel Shearing in November. This is Hazel’s first specialist role, having previously worked as a generalist at Buzzfeed and The Sunday Times. Her remit is to make the education section less dry and more “human-focused”, a “phrase I’m not particularly fond of,” she adds wryly.
She believes case studies are the most important and engaging way to tell a story, so PRs pitching stories should take note. Her preferences are more about trends and less about survey-heavy stats and research. She lists the BBC story of teacher abuse on TikTok as the perfect example of what she’s after – “it had an unusual angle, a case study and just the right number of statistics.”
Hazel is interested in anything to do with social media, mental health, and sex education. She’s also keen to focus more on early childhood education as it’s an area that the channel had somewhat neglected in the past.
To win journalists’ hearts and make their lives easier, PR people can take a leaf out of the books of two press officers mentioned by a national journo we spoke with recently. She contacted an organisation as a left-field way of sourcing case studies and, “within hours, the press officer sent across a bunch from her organisation, two of which I used in two separate pieces.”
“In another email, I simply sounded her out [the press officer] about whether she’d heard of any dairy farmers who had switched to vegan production. Soon enough, she whizzed over several strong case studies, throwing in her own extra pearls of wisdom for good measure. She’s been such a joy to work with, and I’ve now written about her organisation several times.”
According to the journo, the other standout PR is a press officer at a climate organisation who had gone over and beyond to source case studies: “She contacted potential sources on my behalf, sent across mobile numbers, and planted seeds of information for where to look for other case studies. When you’re struggling to source the right material, these acts are truly heaven-sent.”
Going beyond the call of duty has paid off handsomely – the journalist told us that she now regularly quotes the first one where relevant and plans to include the second in a forthcoming article in a national publication.
Public relations is a game of give and take and not every interaction a company has with a journalist will result in media coverage – but this is to be expected. A CEO of one of our clients took the time to run a one-on-one session with a national journalist unfamiliar with the payments world – she subsequently covered them extensively – a great example of selfless fintech PR paying dividends.
Our industrious media relations team also spoke to CNBC’s personal finance section make it. They revealed they’re always on the lookout for career experts to interview or new research related to career and workplace trends. Topics that interest them include specific jobs on the rise, jobs that pay over $100K with no bachelor’s degree, and the reasons why workers are quitting their jobs as part of the ‘Great resignation’.
Linked to the latter, they highlighted they’re looking to connect with companies in the US offering outrageous or fun benefits to retain talent. Special initiatives to engage with young employees in a remote environment, such as one-on-one mentorship programs and virtual support groups, also hold strong appeal.
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