In one of my favourite ever articles a HexJam journalist, Ralph Jones, decided to mess with PRs minds for one month by signing off all his emails with "I love you" and then sit back and wait to see what transpired (with the much expected and oft hilarious results).
It's about a year old, but I think worth bringing to the fore once again. Please do read it - its totally worth it.
The article says it all really, but it does show the importance once again (this is really not rocket science folks) of real, human connections and emotions in when building relationships.
It shows that a little humour goes a long way and that love (or at least a little friendliness) really does make the world turn.
The relationship between PRs and journalist can seem unbalanced, one based on mutual animosity rather than mutual benefit, and it is all too easy to retreat behind walls of formality, stilted emails and even more stilted phone calls. Ralph, in one brilliantly simple prank, broke down these walls and showed just how much can be gained from a more tangential look at working life.
In the past few months I have, more than ever in my PR career, been at the coalface of media relations - working across the regional media on a major political campaign. I am peddling news people want to hear, and doors have been open to me in ways that they have never before. I have learned more about the modus operandi of broadcast media in three months than I have in twenty three years.
But the single biggest lesson I have learned, the one I will carry with me from here on in, the one I want so share is BE BRAVE.
Be brave and tell media what you want, be brave and clear in your requests, be brave in how you approach them and how you reply to them and be brave with your approach - friendliness, humour and humanity does as much as timeliness, accuracy and efficiency.
But equally be brave enough to hear "no", to be pushed back, to recognise that a journalist is always after a story. Be brave enough to treat the PR/journo relationship as a two way street, because that is what will reap the best rewards for all involved.
Oh, and PS Ralph - I love you (and your hilarious article) too.
Tough job, PR. Speaking as someone whose inbox is flooded every 24 hours with messages about the latest torch you can wear on your nose, or a brand-new skiing festival in Warwick, I know that most of the communications sent by public relations officials are unwelcome and superfluous, like an extra testicle on your back. I thought I would indulge in a little experiment; have a little fun. For an entire month, I decided, I would reply to every single one of my PR emails with the phrase "I love you." In 95% of cases I used this declaration as a sign-off, but occasionally a PR would be lucky enough to receive the three words in the body of an email.