A meaningless quote is a no use to me – so why do PR companies insist on sending them? I can see the mechanics, but it really doesn’t work.
Here’s the theory. PR company notes that, say, the Queen is opening a new National Cyber Security Centre in the UK. Rather than call journalists who may be covering it, PR is proactive and sources a quote or five from client on the subject, and sends them to the likely suspects – people who, like me, might be covering the event.
Most often, the journalist won’t be covering the thing, but occasionally you strike paydirt. Today I was writing about it.
Only, there are some things I won’t quote.
“Today’s opening of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) by the Queen demonstrates a new era as we continue our journey in the digital age”
OK I admit it, I’ve just quoted that here. But it didn’t go anywhere my news story (go on, admit it, you were wondering why I’d used a picture of the Queen).
A quote has to mean something
The subhead says it all, really. I had other quotes sent to me. One said the government couldn’t handle everyone’s cyber security needs by itself. Another said the issue wasn’t government money but a skills shortage.
You see how these examples actually take the story on a little – not massively – but they do take it further than “this is a jolly good idea, then”.
And that’s what I need. If you can’t deliver it, then you won’t deliver for your client – nobody who wants to write anything readable is going to repeat a platitude if they can possibly help it.
It’s worth the PR fraternity bearing in mind that the job involves consultancy rather than just parroting everything the client wants. It can be worth pushing back and telling them something’s not going to work; the better clients will listen to expertise and hey, they might even come up with something better!
Do you struggle coming up with messages for the media? I can help – email me and we’ll talk.