Meet the Media – Gorkana Briefing with the BBC Business & Economic Unit

Gorkana, the media database people, hold regular breakfast briefings where PRs like me can get together to hear from top journalists on how they like to work with us, and what opportunities exist to get even better coverage for our clients.

With a panel consisting of Jeremy Hillman, Hugh Pym, Piers Parry-Crooke and Robb Stevenson from the BBC’s Business and Economic Unit, it wasn’t surprising that the 6 October event was standing room only.

Typically, the Gorkana events are London-based, but with the likes of BBC Radio 5 moving to Salford, the meet the media breakfast briefing was a timely chance to get out of Nottingham and hear first hand what the move will mean.  And, to get a handle on what additional opportunities exist for many of our non-London business clients to get their voices heard and their faces seen on BBC Business, including:

•    Wake up to Money
•    BBC on the Money with Declan Curry
•    Five Live Drive
•    The newly launched BBC Technology of Business Index.

With the BBC often criticised for being too London-centric, it was really great to hear the panel’s desire to reach out to more regional businesses, and to expand on its range of commentators. In particular, the BBC panel stressed that they were keen to hear from new experts, SMEs and CEOs able and available to comment and react to timely issues and news.

Business is always current, but with VAT changes, GDP figures and the spending review almost upon us, there’s plenty of timely angles and hooks coming up for businesses to provide their views, stories and reactions to gain coverage across the BBC.

With this in mind, Hugh and the rest of the BBC panel had some top tips for new business commentators and PRs pitching them forward for interview slots and to provide comment: “availability, availability, availability”, “be flexible”, “don’t promise and then not deliver”, and “highlight access to local BBC studios” to minimise any extra handholding needed.

Nobody wants to hear the same old voices, or see the same faces time and time again but with limited resources the panel conceded it was sometimes easier to go back to a familiar face.  Obviously, they’re proven, good operators, know where they’re going and happy with an early 5.30a.m. start.  Ultimately, success breeds success.  If a journalist knows you’re good for it, available and flexible, an expert in your field then they will keep coming back for more.  The challenge is to secure that first slot – that’s where a good PR will come in.

For more information on the briefings see Gorkana.   The next Gorkana breakfast briefing is with the Financial Times FT Money on Wednesday 27th October.  Alice Ross, Deputy Personal Finance Editor will be on the panel – providing an insight into the FT’s daily workings and her top tips on how they would like to work with PRs.

Post by Ellen Carroll, owner and director of Nellie PR, a B2B PR, marketing and communications consultancy.

Ellen Carroll

Ellen Carroll is a strategic PR and communication consultant. I provide PR training, mentoring and consultancy to help people and businesses to step out of the shadows with #PRthatPAYS

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