Ronnie Corbett and 10 PR Tips

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Ronnie Corbett and 10 PR Tips

Words and all their meanings were delivered straight to the camera from Ronnie Corbett’s arm chair.

His marvellous meandering monologues (The Two Ronnies) came to mind this week as I reflected on his passing. His super, well constructed easy humour had a certain innocence that did not offend.

It did get me thinking about the English language and how important it is to be clear. The incredibly funny skit with Ronnie Barker in the hardware store, where only after much toing and froing does it become apparent that he wanted to buy “fork handles” instead of the “four candles” highlights this perfectly.

There was also a really funny interaction within a conversation about purchasing ‘O’s. Ronnie Barker first supplies a garden hoe, then a length of hose & finally Ronnie Corbett says “no, the letter “O”!”.

It got me thinking about PR and press releases and pitching to the media and how important it is to be clear when pitching a news story about..eh..a new range of candles:

  1. Get to the point: Tell the journalists what has happened, what is being launched or who is doing what. Add some brief context about the company, the product and perhaps the market that both either addresses. Flowery, descriptive stuff in the first paragraphs is like fog on a sea-rescue mission!
  2. Basic facts: Are you launching a product? How much it is? Where is it available?
  3. Conciseness and readability wins: A brief succinct summary of the event, product, executive or story at the top of the release makes you the PR star of the day.
  4. Fonts: Don’t try to be fancy or use special effects. Your goal is to be readable and as clear as possible, not to win a digital calligraphy contest.
  5. Avoid making your pitch sound like an awards speech: Try not to use adverbs and descriptive terms to make it ‘sound better’. This dilutes the credibility of your pitch. For example do not say that you are launching an amazing, must-have new app that taps into the latest cloud computing paradigm in the industry. I thought you were launching candles??? Be clear that you are launching an app that does A,B and C, in the context of D, E and F: that the market is currently G and that your client is available to contact at H (email) and I (mobile)
  6. Journalists advice: A well known, wonderful journalist in The Irish Independent (now a friend) once rang me after I sent in a pitch saying “Aisling, I will decide if the PRODUCT/SERVICE? is amazing and if it will work in the feature!
  7. Personalise: Always personalise your email pitch and take the time to acknowledge something the journalist has written or some other personalised note.
  8. Follow up: Be friendly, polite and happy when you follow up with a phone call. Know their deadlines and always ask if they have time to talk.
  9. Smile: Remember, they can hear a smile in your voice.
  10. Manners: Say thank you when a journalist covers something for you – it takes so little time and means a lot.

While writing this, I’ve just heard that a cement lorry has collided with a minibus carrying prisoners to Portlaoise Jail. Gardai are now looking for 13 hardened criminals.

Ronnie Corbett RIP ..we will miss you!

Aisling White - FuzionAisling White 

Aisling White is an Account Director with Fuzion PR, Marketing and Graphic Design based in our office in Dublin, Ireland

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