Press and Press Release

PR bashing by the media and influencers is on the rise. Every other day I see some tweet or a post with an image of a WhatsApp conversation or an email, put out by our friends in media. It bothers me, and I am sure it bothers you all as well. And like me, I am sure you cringe! Let’s give it to both – no side has it easy in today’s real-time world with information democracy. Breaking news is tough. Containing it is tougher. And we all must win.

As one who has had the privilege of being a part of both these professions, I try to understand the frustrations of both sides, but my heart beats for my communications comrades. So, while this one will not have all the answers here are a few things I do to make things work.

Plug in – Understand

It is important to attract the attention of the journalists and engage them, before you seek help or favour.

Take one step at a time. Do I know who is on the other side of this mobile number? Do I know who I am writing the mail to? Understand the publication, the beat, the repertoire of the journalist. Understand the current context in which the journalist is operating.

Homework makes it wholesome and helps in delivering the perfect story.

Charge the Device

We all know the perils of a dead battery in our phone. And we all know the frustration of having plugged it in and not having turned on the switch – it does not work. So, don’t just plug in, check if your device is charging. Along with researching the scribe / influencer, understand your narrative.

Are the proof points ticking the right boxes and propping up the story? Do I have all the data points that I need to charge it up? How will I deliver it – will it be a conversation or a mail or a meeting?

I remember converting a “just a mass press release” to a front-page story in “the” pink paper because I went and met the Resident Editor and shared the storyline! His engrossed expression told me that my story did matter. Next step was to push for a Page 1!

Reboot – Invigorate the Relationship

Maintaining relationships is tough. More so in the teched up world of ours where we have replaced the invigorating long conversations with emojis! We are depending on tech-enabled platforms with their wizardry to help express what we feel. Let tech do the heavy lifting because we are running against time!

I can’t deny that tech enables the relationship, but it also disables the intimacy of long uninterrupted conversations that create intimacy and strong bonds. Try replacing “You know nothing Jon Snow”, being delivered by Ygritte, with a gif! (There has got to be a GOT reference!)

Let’s unpack this a little bit.

How often have you heard your younger colleagues say, “But how will I speak with Ms. XYZ because I am so new”. The brilliant thing about ‘new’ is that it is not old and hence there is no baggage. ‘New’ is more comfortable with the uncomfortable than the ‘old’.

So, plug in, charge up and conquer the new frontier. Be the new episode.

For you in the middle, caught between two worlds where bosses push work down, and subordinates put their hands up – Be the dazzling display. Show the “new” ones how it is done. Help them to plug in, push them to charge up. And hone your skills in the process. Power of two is greater than that of one.

For you the veterans who have been there and done that, – Be the rerun that everyone wants to see again and again. Repeat the magic. Meet the old contacts. Make new ones. Revel in the new learning.

There is no denying that our business is built on the back of relationships. Climb on board before the ship sails and press the right buttons before you press release.

Here is something that I read –

This is a moment to find and forge connection and solidarity with other real human beings. It changes your physiology. You engage with another person and see their pupils getting larger, yours get larger, the mirror neurons fire, and oxytocin goes through your blood, and you are healthier and more open and more resilient and communicate better. And you feel better. It is really television that first disconnected us, and then the internet that did it even more. If people can re-socialize in real spaces, then they stand a chance of revitalizing their local reality, and then scaling that up.Douglas Rushkoff

Tweet to me @ddey67 and tell me how you plug in, charge up and reboot.

The views expressed here are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of Reputation Today.

Deepa Dey
Head - Communication & CSR India Sub Continent at GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare
Deepa started her career as a journalist for a reputed Business Paper in India and then moved to communications 25 years ago. During her career she has worked in leadership positions, both in-house and with a consultancy, supporting communication outreach for a range of industries including Hospitality, Infrastructure, Media, Consumer Electronics, Aviation, Telecom and Healthcare. She has worked to support Philips India Limited, launch of CNBC in India and has been in Indian Telecom space leading the Communication function at Airtel.

Currently she is the Head of Communication and CSR for GSK Consumer Healthcare, India Sub Continent. Her areas of expertise include Consumer Communications, Industry Orchestration, Corporate Reputation & Employer branding, Change Management, Online Reputation Management, Crisis/Issue Management and Executive branding. Deepa joined GSK Consumer Healthcare in 2013 and is a part of the India Management team, and APAC Communication Leadership Team.

She loves to travel, read and eat. Her current passion is “shinrin – yoku” and going for long walks with her family.

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