Thursday, June 17, 2021

Publicity, positioning, Piers, and me: By Greg Simpson, founder of Press for Attention PR

Greg Simpson, founder of Press for Attention PR and the PR and Communications Ambassador for the IoD in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, discusses why “there’s no money in the middle.”

I am writing this from the front row of a business event, yes, a real-life business event with people and everything.

I’m actually up on the stage in the next 20 minutes ahead of one Piers Morgan. That is not a typo. It technically makes me the warm-up act!

The host organisation wants me to run a workshop on how to generate press coverage and media attention. No problem, happy to help. However, the interesting thing is that with over 100 people in the audience here and well over 1,250 online, there are a few folk who are less keen.

Spoiler alert, it isn’t about me! It turns out Piers is something of a divisive figure. Who knew?!

I’ve just discovered that 5 members of the group (which has thousands across the globe) have actually terminated their membership purely because Piers is on the bill. They refuse to be associated with him.

That’s their call, I’ve no problem with that. I’m not his biggest fan either but I do know that I might learn something from him that I can apply to my business or my clients’ businesses. I suspected the division might happen when I accepted the opportunity to speak on the same bill as Piers. In fact, I used this to promote the fact that I was speaking.

Using a simple poll on social media, I asked a simple question: “Piers Morgan, love him, loath him or leave him?”

On, Facebook, the comments were pretty evenly split but there was very little apathy, i.e. very few said “leave.” However, on LinkedIn, the split was very much in one direction and it surprised me…

Over 1,000 were floating around on the poll and I had hundreds of replies, the vast majority say they LOVE Piers. Interesting. I dug a little deeper and the main reason was because he appears to say what he thinks.

Now, I tend not to agree with what he thinks and says but it seems he is respected for that. This might suggest that the fence-sitters, typically broadcasters, and let’s face it, politicians, are actually getting nowhere fast.

There’s a phrase I heard the other day: “There’s no money in the middle.”

There’s also another around the idea that if you remain in the middle of the road, you’ll get run over. Nice. But it has got me thinking. You don’t have to be liked by everyone. You don’t need everyone to buy from you. You need the right people to like you and your product or service. That is where your focus should be, not on trying to be all things to all people.

Now, that doesn’t mean you should start to antagonise people (I’m looking at you Piers), but you can begin to stand FOR something and AGAINST something else.

Me? I want to break PR. I want to level the playing field so that any business can play the media game. Will that annoy people? Yep, mainly other PR consultants and agencies, but I’m cool with that, I know who I want to help.

A former business journalist, Greg Simpson is the author of The Small Business Guide to PR and has been recognised as one of the UK’s top 5 PR consultants, having set up Press for Attention PR in 2008.

He has worked for FTSE 100 firms, charities and start-ups and conducted press conferences with Sir Richard Branson and James Caan. His background ensures a deep understanding of every facet of a successful PR campaign – from a journalist’s, client’s, and consultant’s perspective.

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