Meet the media – Michael Brook, editor of T3
After a short break, my meet the media series returns with a bang. This week my interview is with editor of T3 Magazine and lover of the Wimpy, Michael Brook. I was interested to see his point about bad PR. This is a great point and one a number of marketing managers should take note of. Just because you pay for an advert doesn’t mean you will get a top review of your product in the publication.
Name: Michael Brook
Title I work for: T3 Magazine
Paul Stallard: What is the best way to contact you?
Michael Brook: Email is always the best way – I’m away from my desk and in meeting such a huge amount of the time that it’s almost impossible to get me on the phone, which I know frustrates PRs. My Blackberry, however, is my constant companion…
PS: Do you think that most PR professionals read the titles you write for before contacting you?
MB: I think the vast majority do, particularly the ones in core areas of tech. It’s the calls that go, ‘can I speak to the gadgets and technology editor please?’ that wind me up!
PS: What is your top tip for PR professionals?
MB: This is a no-brainer, but worth mentioning because it goes the same for freelancers. There’s not substitute for face-to-face contact or at the very least a phone call rather than an email. Email a journalist 20 times and you might get 5 responses, but take a journalist out for a fancy lunch with booze thrown in and you’ve made a friend for life! The other one is know your title. Journalists are always looking for the path of least resistance, so come to them with an idea for your product that writes/shoots itself, or fits as an editorial-led, impartial piece and they’ll chew you arm off. Write it for them as well and you’re in business…
PS: How many emails / calls do you get a day?
MB: Calls – anything between 10 and 20 and it’d be more if was actually anywhere near my phone for most of the day. Emails? Probably around 150-200.
PS: Is there a future long term for hard copy publications or will online rule?
MB: Definitely. There are things that print can do that online just can’t. Not one’s really nailed how to run a proper ‘big read’ feature online. The web is great for news snippets but features will never work on a computer screen as well as they do in print and advertisers will always pay a premium to sit next to beautiful photography.
PS: What is the worst case of PR you have come across?
MB: You often find that US companies are the worst. Pulling advertising because of bad reviews and threatening to never deal with you again/never send you product. A lot of them expect that if they advertise with you, editorial will just roll over, but that’s not the way we work at T3.
PS: What is your favourite restaurant/coffee house for briefings?
MB: I’m desperate for someone to take me to a Wimpy for a briefing but no one has obliged so far. I’m not even sure there is one near Baker Street, although I’ll find out if someone’s up for taking me to one!
PS: Do you believe journalists are rude to PR professionals?
MB: I think a lot of them are. Plenty of journalists don’t understand the two-way nature of PR and use them as whipping boys/girls. I’ve never been in a situation that couldn’t be dealt with better via a polite conversation outlining your position, instead of shouting and slamming phones. Suggestion is a very powerful thing and you don’t want to make too many PR enemies in this business.