Modern communicators have a vast array of channels open to them today but a principle used by the UK's first PR professional almost a century ago still matters.
My inbox and social media timelines get a steady stream of updates from various communications related websites, highlighting news and debate from the world of public relations.
The death of the press release, its replacement with video, the rise of social media, the decline of print….the churn and pace of change in our sector is all too apparent from even a cursory read.
But some things never change. A topic constantly featuring in all these channels is content and the quite obvious fact that it is indeed king and that in order to gain coverage, followership or whatever that content needs to convey a compelling story.
Flicking through a trade mag some time ago I was diverted from the beards, Soho restaurant reviews and self importance with an excellent piece about Basil Clarke, often described as the father of British PR.
The piece contained a brilliant quote from Clarke on news value: “No single soul in this world is an enemy of the editor if he has fresh, live news to tell.” He distanced himself from the PR stunts that were a popular way of achieving column inches for clients at the time (has that changed?) and stuck to a simple formula: finding news value in a client’s work and presenting it in a news format.
Basil, operating in the 1920s and 1930s, would probably find it hard to comprehend the channels now open to professional communicators today but he would recognise that the story still matters.