By Gorazd Čad
Q: Is PR important as a discipline in the overall marketing/sales mix? If yes, how and why?
The importance of PR has significantly increased in the last few years, although I can understand it more as content marketing. At a time when campaigns are taken over by our customers, there are only a few tools that enable communication through various channels, with the exception of content marketing. Many of them do not separate the usual press releases from content marketing. The basic difference is in the useful value of the message for the final user and through which different channels it is sent.
The most important difference here is in the ‘storytelling’ rather than selling services. Stories must be personal, sincere and written in the good old journalistic manner, and even better if it’s written in a classic five-level logic of Greek tragedies with their concept, twist, summit, denouement and catharsis. Such integrated stories are easy to place within the different communication media, which generally does not apply to sales messages with which most providers regularly bombard us. Personally, I have accumulated a lot of sugar in my blood vessels from all Valentine’s offers…
Q: Which kind of companies, suppliers, services, or products do you think might be unable to benefit from professional PR?
The answer to this question is unambiguous: I don’t know any company that wouldn’t profit thanks to the support of professional PR. Can you imagine the life of congress providers without their own blogs, newsletters, video channels, infographs, white papers, tweets, Facebook posts and more?
Good and successful brands have become their own media houses. The most typical example is Red Bull, which has recently posted on Twitter that they are actually not selling drinks, but are the media house.
Q: What do you think is most beneficial (to a company/supplier/service/product): to have an in-house PR professional or to hire a PR agency?
It’s definitely best to have your own in-house PR professional or, even better, a team for content marketing. They should be well qualified, otherwise they could do more harm than good. In such instances it is better to hire a professional PR agency that has mastered the language of the meetings industry. Nevertheless, the time will come in the meetings industry when new professions like content president, audience development manager, e-media manager and more will all show up…
Good content has also never been free. In an article in The Marketer magazine an interesting analogy was set out that content marketing is like buying a house rather than renting. Nobody these days would build a house without considering who best to engage for the job, which is the same for content managers who are today the masters of multimedia tools and who have a range of special tools at their disposal. The major problems arise because today, unfortunately, everyone thinks they know how to write…
Q: What makes you open and read a press release or a press invitation?
I’m always impressed by crystal clear, elegant and exciting content properly tailored to a niche audience. The key is the emotional element of the story, which we know as EMQ – emotional meetings quotient.
Otherwise, structurally I’m most convinced by:
– Title: as the most important enhancement of the message
– The length of the message: which may not exceed the generally accepted journalistic standards
– The structure of the message: which allows me to read the message in an orderly way and for further use
when it comes to articles always apply the Pareto principle – 20% of the words affect 80% of the communication.
Q: What then makes you delete a press release or a press invitation?
Mostly the title. A good title is short, interesting, clear and identifiable. I’m disturbed by the words BEST, AMAZING…
… The Perfect Conference Destination
… A top destination for meetings and events
… Your ultimate MICE destination
Q: What would make you publish a press releases or a piece of news?
“Sometimes we can also spice things up with a bit of conflict, because as human beings we’re naturally interested in conflict.”
COMMON MISTAKES WITH PRESS RELEASES
Mistakes and room for improvement can be grouped into the following categories:
1. LENGTH OF PRESS RELEASES
Today’s acceptable length of the message is from 100 to 150 words. If you look at published messages, at least 60% of them exceed this standard.
2. MESSAGE STRUCTURE
Press releases should be clearly structured and composed of several keywords, an attractive title, a lead-in, core and a clear indication of sources. In this way, you will facilitate the work of journalists and other readers.
It is necessary to take into account that:
— TITLE is extremely important and is the first contact with the reader.
— SUMMARY is all-essential information about the campaign condensed into a concise, striking and interesting paragraph.
— THE CONTENT should be clear and understandable, grammatically correct and readable.
— THE LAST PARAGRAPH contains information about the organisation and additional information and web link related to the contribution.
3. THE TITLE OF MESSAGE
A good title is short, interesting, clear and identifiable. Words which need to be avoided are those such as ‘best’, ‘amazing’… The title is the enhancer of your press release.
4. THE CONTENT
Good content stories comply with the above written formula to be more newsworthy. Concretely what this means is that we should be publishing presentations of new congress services, the results of market research, credit reports and awards, reports on exceptional business results and new strategic partnerships. What is most disturbing being presented as ‘news’ is the enumeration of congress halls or descriptions of the services they offer in the hotel rooms…
5. UEP — Unique Emotional Point
Very exceptional messages act on our emotions and heart, which is the basic element of a good congress story. Many events don’t have the potential to host a large number of people, but they have tremendous emotional impact and are worthy of the attention of the general public. Think about the stories that emotionally hit the planners, but not you as the storyteller.
6. SALES OFFERS ARE NOT press releases
The worst mistake to make is certainly a sales offer release. There are plenty of them in the IMEX System where we can see offers in which exhibitors offer discounts and all-inclusive congress packages…
Q: How can PR people make your job easier?
You have to think 24/7 about what meeting planners are interested in and not about what you find interesting in the destination. Meeting planners are interested in the stories of people from the industry, looking behind the scenes of the industry and more into the lifestyle.
I recommend preparing a substantive brief adapted to our destination. With the help of such a methodology, you will certainly be more successful in your communication. In the preparation it is important that you keep up with your flow of thoughts. Above all, you have to clarify the aim of the communication and target group. The decision on WHAT TO LET GO is as important as what to include in your message. You constantly have to think about what makes your content different from others.
Q: What other advice would you like to share, such as great examples of PR work or campaigns that really stand out in our industry?
Your own communication is more definitely a best practice example that I often speak about to participants at content marketing seminars, and it is one that I carry our across the region. Otherwise, I was recently impressed by the following examples:
– Glasgow CVB
– Brisbane CVB
– C-IN PCO
– AIM International
A good practice case for us is one that is measurable due to its excellent results, such as that of the project Conventa.
Q: Do you have any examples of what definitely not to do connected to all of the above…?
YOU ARE WHAT YOU READ!
Instead of a conclusion, I state our five internal editorial golden rules:
- Do not defile the name of the corporation
- Do not give false testimony
- Do not kill
- Do not participate in theft
- Honour readers so you will live long and happy