Ian Irving: Get read or get lost

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Don’t mess with another man’s trade. Ian Irving, director at RPM Corporate, discusses the power of PR…

One of my pet hates is PR agencies who claim to run events. And conversely, I also get annoyed by event agencies, which claim they don’t need a PR agency and that they can do their own PR.

Are the skills involved with running an event transferable to PR? I don’t think so. Handling the press, writing press releases and creating ideas for articles is quite a separate skill set. So why do so many event agencies think they can do it themselves? It is true that most people, given a steer, could actually write a press release. There is enough information online to guide you in what to put (and more importantly what not to put) in a release but people still get it wrong. Speak to any journalist and they will laughingly tell you about all the errors they see in releases and why so many of them just don’t get used.

But are press releases all there is to PR? What about the creativity required to analyse our work, and pull out the trends and the issues that the press will want to hear about? What about the skill required to work with the media in a proactive way?

I have a very close relationship with my PR. I have worked with her for over four years and her work has been absolutely crucial to me – initially in my success in building my last business, and more recently in launching and then building RPM Corporate into the division that it is today. She is an essential part of the team; we work closely with her so she knows everything that is going on -– what we are pitching for and the events we are creating. She even works directly with our clients so they know her, and more importantly trust her, to create some amazing coverage for us whilst observing their limitations and company guidelines.

I view PR as an essential part of my new business strategy. And it works – otherwise I would not be writing this comment column for you now!