Rivalry between journalists and journalists, I am sure you’ve come across it.
I remember two colleagues of mine almost coming to fisticuffs in Claridges (how fabulous) when one person ran a story about a new perfume ahead of another journalist’s exclusive.
Exclusives used to be fraught with danger for PRs. Yes, you’d get six pages on your new brand ambassador in one magazine, but the other twenty would feel miffed about the perceived snub and not feature you. Nowadays things are different. Exclusives are harder to wangle because of that thing called the internet. Which means keeping anything a secret is pretty much impossible.
So, what causes friction between journalists now?
- Journalists generally don’t like being advised by other journalists. If you are having an expert at your event, make them a scientist or a make-up artist etc. You can get away with having a journalist as the host/interviewer (but only sometimes).
- If you are running a trip, then those not on the list might feel excluded. I know it’s business, but a friendly note or e-mail smoothing things over might well be worth it.
- Don’t ever sell in two exclusive stories that are similar to each other. It will only backfire.
Now the landscape has changed and journalists, on social media especially, know they need to support each other. Plus, there is no longer the same territorial feelings whipped up by rival magazines.
This works well for brands, as if you are doing an edit or a project or an event, you might count on the journalist you’ve recruited to rope in their mates with a following. This always requires careful handling. No journalist wants their friends to feel used, but equally they understand that if a brand is paying, they want secure coverage and reach.
I’m doing a few projects at the moment that need me to leverage some social momentum. I agreed that I would reach out to my influencer friends to help secure coverage. I have really appreciated that the PRs have let me choose who is most likely to be happy to receive my edit and who is most likely to cover it.