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'Spin Doctor' #3 - a Guide to Dance Music P.R. by Stuart Evans

Author: Stuart Evans
Sunday, January 29, 2006
When no really means NO!

Who can take no for an answer-

If you talk to journalists and editors, most (and I use the word 'most' as a modest generalisation) of them would not have too many complimentary words to say about the role of the public relations practitioner.

'Why-', you may ask. Look at it from their point of view. They work on extremely tight deadlines. They have to decide what's newsworthy and what makes warranted inclusion in their publication. They have to ignore the propaganda and search for the news, and on top of this they have to field calls from PR companies or PR reps who obviously have another motive as to why they'd want their story to be published.

In dance music, the paradigm seems to double.

Just because you've got a UK DJ that no-one outside of London has heard of, doesn't automatically make for inclusion in our mags.

Now, most journalists would agree (reluctantly in some cases) that the modern day PR professional has made their life easier.

Ok, so you've got a media release typed up and ready to go. You've done your research and found out the deadline day. You've targeted well and are about to hit send. BINGO! The media release has been sent and it's only a matter of time before they call you.

A few hours pass and you hear nothing. A day passes and you hear nothing. Your story, a "sure fire" hit in your mind, is not getting you the coverage that you feel it so desperately deserves. You feel letdown and as though you've let your client down.

So you pick up the phone and call the journalist or targeted media to ask what's going on. They reply with a moody grumbling which resembles a "no, now leave me alone" style vernacular.

I've heard many stories from PR people that when editors or journalists say 'no', what they really mean is 'phone back in a couple of days and try again'. Let's dispel the myth. When they (those kindly folk at the media) say no, it normally means no. Treating the media with respect, knowing their deadlines, appreciating their requirements and not expecting a 100% strike rate will help build relationships. Stories get "spiked", changes happen last minute and sometimes things run when you least expect it. But that's why you love it, right-

Remember, every media release written doesn't automatically guarantee publication. If you could count how many media releases these guys receive you'd need an abacus to keep score. Keep your media release newsworthy. Present it in a clear and concise way. State facts - journalists love to see hard facts. Fabrication gets you an F; facts and a good newsworthy headline get you an A.

When a no comes your way, take it on the chin and keep working on those relationships.

Until next time,

Stuart Evans runs the highly acclaimed Vibe Communication with fellow PR junkie Caroline Yates. Vibe is a marketing, PR and communications agency dedicated to the 18-35 year old demographic.