What rowdy ad reps need to know about humourless hacks

To us, they’re the noisy lot who celebrate Christmas in August and ring bells or burst into whooping at the drop of a party hat.

To them, we’re the humourless sods who poo-poo their ideas at meetings and write stories which wind up their customers.

But we can’t get by without each other.

And, in fact, my caricature of the way advertising and editorial perceive each other is increasingly outdated.

Later today, I’m going to be taking part in an induction session for new commercial staff, discussing how editorial teams operate and how we can work more closely together.

So here’s a confession: This isn’t so much a blog, more homework for this afternoon.

What will I tell these new recruits to our business?

First of all, they need to know what shapes our news values and priorities – about the web analytics and targets which determine the direction of some of our coverage, but also about long-standing and non-negotiable matters of integrity and objectivity.

There are some practical points – the best times to talk to busy news editors, who’s responsible for what, and what exactly do the myriad of titles we give our designers and production staff actually mean.

Plus there’s the eternal plea to be our eyes and ears for breaking news stories, the reassurance that we’d rather be told ten times about that High Street fire than not at all.

I need to talk about proper forward planning and organisation and about managing customers’ expectations.

But most of all, I need to talk about respect, support and co-operation.

Editors and other senior journalists are now pitching for business in ways undreamed of a decade ago.

We bring skills from basic proof-reading to sophisticated trouble-spotting to the table, and have contacts and kudos that can open all manner of commercial doors.

But we don’t always have that killer instinct when it comes to sealing a deal, and perhaps don’t always think big enough about the value of our commercial platforms.

In that, we doff our own hats – trilbies with that Press label on them, naturally – to our advertising colleagues.

As always, it is relationships which make the world go round, and which are the key to doing great business.

And that starts in our own offices, between our own teams.

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