A guest blog post by Steed Webzell, freelance editor across a range of technology-based titles
PR agencies make life easy for editors. How so? Well, without any desire to portray editors as lackadaisical, somewhat unorganised individuals, the reality is that PR agencies take away the leg work. This is particularly true for technology, engineering and manufacturing publications where well-written, targeted and timely content is a godsend.
Modern-day editorial teams are a fraction of the size of those seen in bygone years. In fact, many trade press titles now operate using an editorial staff of one – the editor – with the shortfall made up by commissioning freelance resources. As a consequence, editors are busy people, multi-tasking across the news desk, features section and website, while at the same time overseeing sub-editing, proof reading and image direction. He or she also has an endless schedule of on-the-road commitments to fulfil.
This is why a PR agency specialising in the technology arena is an editor’s dream come true, especially one that represents an important industry voice. Firstly, a technical PR agency will understand both the marketplace and the publications serving it. This means no press releases about a newly appointed deputy warehouse manager, sponsorship of the local neighbourhood watch scheme, or new catering deals for the staff canteen. Instead, the content will be technology-led and written in a way that appeals to editors and readers, namely impartial with an advisory tone.
Another PR-related benefit for editors is the point of contact. Dealing directly with companies can be a tricky task, particularly as the nominated spokesperson is often at director or senior management level. Over the course of the past 15 years, manufacturing organisations have had to become leaner and leaner to compete in a global marketplace. While this make good business sense, it also means those remaining now undertake roles that were once performed by three, four or more people. Try getting a managing director to come to the phone these days, it’s not easy.
With this in mind, if an editor wants to follow up on a submitted press release or article, the PR agency can take the strain. Firstly, PR representatives always take calls from editors. Secondly, thanks to their regular and more intimate relationship with the client, they can better facilitate the question and answer process. This also ensures an official line is taken and side-steps any possibility of being misquoted.