PR industry risks ‘wasting effort, time, talent and money’, reveals survey

THE PR industry risks wasting “a huge amount of effort, time, talent and money” by the way it communicates with the media, a research survey has revealed.

Says Iain Fleming – in a research project for a post-graduate Diploma in Public Relations, run by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations – journalists are often irritated by poorly-targeted media releases, email attachments that are too big, and often impossible to open, and follow-up telephone calls.

His conclusions follow an online survey that attracted 101 respondents, all of them either journalists, editors or IT managers working for media outlets.

Fleming is a former PR manager and newspaper journalist who now works as a business development manager for Wirefast, which provides the ‘Newslink’ and ‘Tradeclips’ newswire and multimedia distribution services – which guarantee delivery of material into the editorial in-boxes of media outlets.

He is studying for his diploma at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh.

Says Falkirk-based Fleming: “Technological changes in the last ten years have made it much cheaper and much easier to send out content to the media, but this has only resulted in huge amounts of material being sent to the wrong place, at the wrong time, and in the wrong format. It is adding up to a huge amount of effort, time, talent and money being wasted by the PR industry.”

Among the results of his survey, 55 per cent of respondents said that less than ten per cent of the material sent to them from the commercial sector was ‘relevant’, with 83 per cent of them saying they wanted less material.

Only ten per cent of respondents revealed they wanted more content from commercial PR operators.

Meanwhile, some 54 per cent of respondents said they wanted less material from the non-commercial sector (public and voluntary), with 25 per cent saying they wanted more.

Almost 95 per cent of respondents said they had suffered problems with material sent to them by email, with almost one quarter saying it happens every day.

Commented one respondent: “Sent in wrong format, unable to open attachments, just too time-consuming to access, one-size fits all newspapers attitude; no knowledge of circulation area so content is irrelevant… shall I go on?”