Story for publication
The exchange of ideas is central to our jobs. But the exchange of entire features? Occasionally I’m sent stories – pre-written by PRs and/or experts – “for publication online”. I got such an offer this week and it struck me that certain outlets must happily accept these.
Digi editorial teams are notoriously overworked and understaffed, while print teams are increasingly depleted too. So the thought of a free readymade story that could actually be spot-on for one’s readership is understandably tempting. But I can’t say I’ve worked with a journo who would take something presented as editorial from a brand and run with it in its entirety.
This is not only for reasons of integrity (the cornerstone of a hack’s credibility, I hear), but because it also bleeds into commercial territory. I mean, c’mon – “This piece was brought to you by the experts at xy&z” sits under paid-for advertorial, surely?
Original feature ideas are always very welcome, but we don’t need the whole thing written out. That is our job, after all.
The most enticing suggestions offer exclusive angles, and we appreciate being given first refusal on these. (This also encourages us to let you know swiftly if it’s not right for our title – win-win).
We value seeing research and expert endorsement, too, but the top line on this is totally fine in a pitch email.
Honestly, sometimes less truly is more.
What Bridget Thinks…
“For something as simple as a new blusher launch, this press release stood out for a few reasons. Firstly, the image embedded in the email let me view the product at a glance (always handy). Then there are retail links to each shade, plus prices. Finally, there’s a nice quote from the make-up artist behind the brand and her ‘how-to’ video available to download.”