Thursday, 1 October 2009

"Press Relations Goddess"?.. I've been termed worse!

I was at a Fast Growth Marketing event, run by School for Startups at the British Library last Friday and, despite all best intentions to sit down, shut up, and duly learn from the wonderful speakers, it would appear that what I actually did was manage to find myself causing a slight ripple of trouble.

'Oh', indeed.. And I can tell you're all surprised.

But let me explain; one of the great things about S4Startups is that the events allow for entrepreneurs in the audience to ask Doug Richard, or one of his guest speakers, for advice on how to resolve some of the issues they've been having regarding their businesses. With the advent of S4Stv the incorporation of live tweeting was encouraged, giving the rest of us in the audience the opportunity to pass ill informed judgement on the poor souls.. didn't I tell you this was great stuff?

So it transpired, then, that during a debate on PR and Marketing one such entrepreneur told a tale of how her business was contacted with regards to providing a 'profile' (not interview!) for a factual, industry specific, publication. Her problem was that when the copy came out it was riddled with inaccuracies, some simply wrong, others misleading to the company's extreme detriment and as a couple of others murmured from the auditorium that they too had suffered from the misreporting of facts in a similar fashion I, daftly I'll admit, grabbed my Blackberry and threw out into the ether this Tweet:

#s4stv Umm... am I the only entrepreneur who is successfully self-generating PR & who *demands* copy approval?! 'Copy Approval' people!! ;-)

So.. some followers on Twitter may have seen a little debate kick off between myself and @CriagMcGill which culminated in his recent blog post on the subject.

Now, to clarify, Red Button Design has been fortunate enough to receive a sizable chunk of press attention but up until recently we've been the feature of a huge number of factual publications and very few opinion pieces. When it comes to factual profiles I am afraid I am one of those difficult souls who do insist on seeing and checking the copy before print. To be frank, this is simply because, when it comes to technical or industry publications the difference between saying; 'cleans water', 'purifies water', or 'sanitises water' is technically significant in a way a journalist might not fully appreciate prior to a crash course in UN procurement and WHO sanitation regulations. And while getting the piece in the publication but having it inappropriately worded is harmful beyond measure, not being there at all is neutral ground. Perfectly defensible actions, I'm sure you'll agree.

However, I am pleased to say that the opinion pieces are beginning to come our way now, Gillian Bowditch recently interviewed me for the Sunday Times and produced a wonderful piece which I hasten to add I didn’t have copy approval over, nor did I request it. Similarly this morning I interviewed for a very well known national women's' magazine and didn't even consider making the request.

So I'd counter that my Tweet was misleading to those deprived of it's context, which given that there were maybe 100 or so folk at the event means that the vast majority of you might have been mislead and for that I am sorry. (I shoulda known better really, mea culpa and all that!) Hence I don't think @CriagMcGill and I are really arguing discussing the same thing, even,.. but tell us what *you* think either by commenting here or over at his blog, and I, for one, promise to post your opinions verbatim ;-)

1 comment:

Craig McGill said...

It's quite interesting seeing how this played out and I wonder if in the future context is something that people have to be more aware of.

For years journalists played fast and rough with it - reviewers still do very often - but online is still learning that. We all know that what appears as sarcasm to one person can be a deep insult to another. It's an interesting thing to consider in an age where sometimes you can be limited to 140 characters and branding is becoming ever more personalised.