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The 2012 review from rogue PR Dominic Hiatt

by: Dominic Hiatt
  • 12/12/2012
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The 2012 review from rogue PR Dominic Hiatt
The past 12 months have been busy for PR agencies, one thing Rhizome PR’s Dominic Hiatt has learnt is that brokers need to start letting their voices be heard.

If there’s one thing I have learnt in the past year it is that if brokers was want to see their name in the media regularly – giving your views on mortgage products and the market as a whole – then there’s one key piece of advice.

Don’t sit on the goddamn fence.

If you do, you’ll get nowhere with journalists, especially those in the personal finance sections of the national media. Journalists want people who say it as it is.

I remember a story from earlier this year, a personal finance hack on a national newspaper I know spoke to a one-time broker client of ours for an article he was writing on some lender antics or other.

In the bag I thought. How wrong I was. Damned hack didn’t use my broker in his article. Outraged (having bought the scribe lunch at Le Caprice only a few days previously), I asked him why.

He said it was because my client wouldn’t go hard enough on the lender, which had done something pretty cynical. Or launched something pretty lame. Can’t remember exactly what, now.

Basically, my client, for corporate reasons, didn’t want to damage his relationship with the lender and therefore didn’t give the hack what he was after.

So instead the journalist quoted a broker who did hold the lender to account. And fair play to him – I would have done the same. What the other broker said wasn’t sensationalist in any way, but simply addressed the facts at hand.

What I’m saying is that if you want journalists to use you, and to keep coming back to you, as well as praising great products when they come out, and singing a lender’s praises, you’ll need to be prepared to rubbish products that are rubbish, or lay into a lender if that lender has done something wrong.

If journalists sense you’re pussyfooting around lenders, then they won’t see you as a useful resource and they won’t use you. This year, next year, any year.

But if you always speak the truth, whatever the issue in hand and whichever the lender, you’ll become a very useful resource – and get regular ink. You need to be a consumer champion, not a corporate panderer. So my lesson learned from 2012 is to never sit on the goddamn fence.

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