If you want journos’ attention send us free stuff, PRs are told

If PRs want to get journalists’ attention then they should send them gifts, a Sydney conference heard on Tuesday night.  

“Anything free. We love free stuff. It cuts through. We love gifts. You guys think we have this awesome life, we really don’t, so send us stuff,” said Sophie Onikul, executive producer of 2GB’s Ray Hadley Morning Program .

She added that gifts like food and concert tickets were a way to stand out from the 80 to 90 press releases she receives every day.

But the audience at the Maximise The Media discussion – organised by events company Networx – were warned that freebies do not necessarily translate into coverage. Jebby Phillips, executive producer of Nine’s Mornings with Kerri-Anne warned:

“We’ll take your flowers, we’ll let you take us to dinner and then we’ll break your heart.”

Also on the panel were the newly appointed editor of Harpers Bazaar magazine Edwina McCann and Sky News presenter Jacinta Tynan.

McCann urged PRs to try to develop personal relationships with journalists and to offer them exclusives. “A problem with a press release is as soon as you get it everyone knows what you know. There’s no exclusivity. A lot of it does come down to personal relationships. If you’ve got a good relationship with someone, you’re always going to take that phone call and listen to what they have to say.”

And Tynan said press releases need to be kept simple. “You can make it easy for a journalist if you write it like a story with the most important information first,” she said. 

The theme of journalists receiving free stuff also came up at a breakfast debate organised by the Australian Marketing Institute this morning. A session moderated by Simon Canning, a journalist on The Australian, included playing the Boag’s Cannes Gold Lion winning work Tasmanian waters ad. Canning joked: “If there are any Boag’s people out there who want a mention in The Australian, send me a couple of cases and I’ll see what I can do.”


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