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Making sure a great idea converts into great press coverage

There is always a great air of excitement at the planning stages of a new campaign. Whether it's forward planning a seasonal campaign (Christmas/Easter and so on), an anniversary or a brand's awareness campaign. Free-thinking is essential.

Sharing ideas is essential and so I always encourage a blush free zone with a fun anonymous, "wildest ideas kitty" to get the ball rolling. Team members submit these and then they are read out and it's play time, with each member challenged with offering at least three spin-off press opps that could work from using it.

I do this simply because a great idea may work visually say as a stunt or proposed viral project but terribly in terms of generating media coverage. All too often some ideas are seized upon without factoring in how the activity will be 'sold in' to press and media contacts. After all, clients are not paying for an expensive installation, outdoor stunt, piece of art for no one to read, hear, see or talk about it.

What may sound dazzlingly impressive to the client may be an uttler turn-off to a journalist! A few years back, I had an agency director contact me in a panic after spending £120k of client's money on a campaign that achieved zero media coverage - yes, zero. Not even local coverage or a spot in the trades. I was called in to trouble-shoot it as the client was feeling disgruntled. I discoverd that absolutley no one in the team had consulted any of their journalist contacts in advance to sound them out on this very extravagant money pit.

Nor did they factor in all strands of possible media coverage in advance. Photo-opps for regional papers (with branding all set up), interviews lined up with the creators for the nationals and broadcast, an exclusive with a key title and of course, lots and lots of engagement with social media influencers before and after.

I know I am biased but this is why I find having a background as a journalist really helps in PR. We do think differently - we immediately think in terms of coverage, telling the story, sharing the news. It's something agencies and brands need to cultivate among their teams or be saddled with some very expensive misadventures.

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