I’ve been accused in the past of not being too complimentary to PR companies, although I’d like to see it more as gentle encouragement to do better, egged on by my former colleagues in the magazine editing business. Let’s make it clear: it’s obvious that many PR companies do a great job for their clients. However, I also understand that just as many don’t even appear to have noticed the massive changes in the media over the past ten years or more. And that’s unforgivable.
So credit where it’s due then for those outfits who are going the extra mile to try out new ideas, especially when their initiatives attempt to address the fact that trade press journalists have so much less time to spare than in the past. I’ve mentioned the First Friday Club before, but here’s another initiative which I suspect will pay for itself in spades if you’d like to give it a try. Give Me 5 is a sort of speed-dating event where you can brief up to a dozen journalists in quick succession. You get five minutes to talk to each one – which should be more than enough to get a message over – before everybody moves round. It’s a great idea, and I wish it had been around when I was an editor. Indeed, with these sort of happenings available nowadays, I can see that, eventually, the only reason left for companies to hold their own (expensive) press conferences will be to impress the chairman.
The next Give Me 5 is focused on the electronics sector and will take place on 13th March 2012 in London. One of the organisers of the event, Ian Clay, tells me: “We have a good number of journalists committed and, as with our recent industrial event, we expect interest to be high. We’re aiming for 10-12 journalists and 10-12 presenters, and it’s ‘agency neutral’ so PR companies can jump on board and recommend it to their clients.” I suspect it’ll be of just as much interest to companies which do their own press relations internally. There’s also a Give Me 5 in the industrial/engineering design sector, on May 15th. Give it a try – some very switched-on companies already are.