I think one of the hardest things for you PRs must be when a client phones up, says he/she is coming to town, and asks you to arrange meetings with a series of top journalists! Generally at short notice, too. Luckily, I didn’t have to endure this much during my PR career, but I always dreaded hearing that news.
The problem is partly because editors and journalists are increasingly busy; obviously, Covid and a lot of people working from home is a hindrance, too.
Yet, most times, meeting a solitary client is also not the most tempting proposition for a journalist. You know this, and I know this. Firstly, if I meet you, we might cover ten clients in an hour; much more efficient than only speaking about one. Secondly, clients usually don’t have the PR skill to focus on and best communicate their top stories – even if you’ve briefed them, or are in attendance, steering the conversation along. For me, it all typically adds up to time badly spent.
So what would tempt me? An exciting venue, perhaps, as shallow as that is. If an exclusive trip (and great angle) was somehow dangled in front of me, I might be suckered in. Or perhaps the – nudge, nudge – of you-scratch-my-back logic and favours owed would do the trick, working on a psychological level. Time-wise, late in the week always trumps early – and everyone needs to eat lunch, right?
I think it also hinges on what sort of pieces a journalist writes. For instance Lisa Grainger, my RoxStars predecessor, writes long, people-filled travel pieces for Luxx, plus some almost profile pieces. For her, meeting CEOs or the like must be very valuable. For someone like me, more concentrated on straight-up destination pieces, that’s not as true. So perhaps the trick is to really choose targets whom might get immediate use out of such meetings?