Many of us may know a country — or even a set of countries — where we understand best practices for working with the media. But when it comes to new markets, we may be in unfamiliar territory. Luckily, as part of BBN, we can help educate each other about best practices and cultural do’s and don’ts, as well as help execute PR tactics as needed.
Building a BBN PR Team
Recently, my team worked with a North American client who wanted to distribute a new product news release to targeted publications in a handful of European countries. Knowing the needs of the local media and audience would be different than what we are used to in North America, we knew we needed to call in the regional experts and think through our approach.
Through conversations with BBN UK (Scotland), BBN Germany and BBN France we learned insights that helped drive our strategy:
In Germany, articles are developed in collaboration with editors. An agency works closely with an editor to draft the story and discuss edits. On the other hand, in the United States, an agency often writes an article on a client’s behalf and submits to the editor. Sometimes, you might not hear anything about the article until you see it in print.
French editors are very independent. Because of this, they aren’t as receptive to story ideas or news releases like U.S. editors tend to be. Instead, they like to develop their own stories, typically focusing on the end user.
UK based publications are often led by advertising, meaning news is published only when money is spent, too. In the United States, earned media is still obtainable in trade outlets.
Although these takeaways are specific to our product launch and the countries we were targeting, it was eye-opening to learn the breadth of differences between PR in the United States and other countries. This knowledge has continued to serve us well, as our work with this client moves into new regions, including Asia-Pacific.
Recognising Worldwide Best Practices
Beyond this, we’ve recognised some commonalities that are true no matter where you execute your PR campaigns. This list includes not only work on behalf of our clients but also tips for working with others in BBN:
- Editors prefer working with an agency associate who speaks the local language — sometimes even down to similar dialects within their countries.
- Similarly, contributed content should be in the local language. Distributing a release that is not in the local language can place the client company and even the agency in an unfavourable light.
- Stories or pitches should be localised, if possible, making the story that much more pertinent to readers. In fact, the expert quoted in a release should be someone from that region, rather than someone — even a president or CEO — from headquarters.
- When budgeting, account for additional time for on-going correspondence between agency contacts. When agencies begin working together, there can be a learning curve to work through.
The next time you’re tasked with taking your PR work global, don’t forget you have a wealth of knowledge within BBN — and the practitioners are ready