Thursday 4th February saw an important day for Greenwich’s PR Fraternity – Giles Kenningham, Head of Press at no. 10 came to speak to us! Kenningham met our wonderful Honorary Patron Paul at ITN where they bonded over their love for a good story, and this is how we came to secure such a prestigious speaker – remember those all important connections are just invaluable!
Now, whilst you might all be thinking that over red wine and cheese we heard the latest gossip surrounding our Prime Minister – you’re wrong. Giles has his own reputation to protect as well as that of our government, but what I can offer you is some brilliant advice that shouldn’t be ignored!
The first insight on Giles’ agenda was to give us an insight into the general election. This year there was no major flashpoint, which is incredibly surprising when today nothing remains exclusive and this creates huge daily challenges!
“In this digital age it is so hard to keep everything private!”
We also learnt that there are peak times when news should be released, not only during an election but daily – at 9AM, 1PM, 5PM & 10PM. It’s important to have a plan, and not be opportunistic:
“When opposing parties are responding, they can’t be attacking”
Giles also talked to us about the opportunities and threats of social media, in particular Twitter – Whilst media strategies need to reflect the change to digital, the platform can also be used to quickly make mistakes – once something’s out there, it’s out there forever! (Now that is worth remembering!)
On this subject we also learnt that, during the election Twitter and Facebook were used to target different types of people, enabling aspirational stories to get out there through these platforms.
Kenningham wanted to give us some advice on campaigns too: every story you work on, you should always be thinking about how the story can be kept going and how the campaign can be enhanced with opinion formers and bloggers. We were also told how tactics reinforce strategy (so pay attention in class!)
The final piece of advice I want to leave you with is something Giles said that I think is invaluable for us all…
“Don’t underestimate the power of face to face!”
Until next time,