Last week Professor Stephen Holgate was awarded a Knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his services to medical research. I was absolutely thrilled for him as I know, he has spent more than four decades working to improve treatments for respiratory issues and campaigning for cleaner air. The recognition is well and truly deserved.
I’ve worked with Stephen, now Sir Stephen, on many different PR and communications projects. From press releases showcasing his research or a new report he has chaired for a Royal Society, to public events to constructing thought-leadership pieces to writing a case study for the Research Excellence Framework, working with Stephen has never been hard work.
Well, a few key reasons make working with Stephen a pleasure and not a chore, and some businesses and their employees should take note.
- Informative and never patronising
I have never claimed to be a scientist and never will I. Stephen knows that and respects it. Instead of being condescending when he talks about his research to me, he explains it in a way that I will understand. He helps me grasp the important and key aspects of the research, so I can communicate it to a wider audience, whether that’s to a journalist, in a newsletter or on a social media post.
- Be available
Stephen has done many media interviews over the years, not just for me, but for a number of press officers. He knows that when he has a big paper coming out, he will need to make himself available for journalists calls, filming opportunities and interviews. This makes getting media attention much easier – journalists will remember and come back again.
- Have something to say
A common mistake from people wanting PR coverage is that they think their story is newsworthy to everyone. This is simply not the case. The key is to find the right media outlet or communication channel for your message. Stephen is aware that not everything he does should be a news story and through experience he now knows when a story is a press release, when it is an internal story and when it is a blog.
- Have a cause and believe in it
Stephen’s commitment and dedication to respiratory research is inspiring. When you speak to him about his papers or a government committee on air pollution he is about to speak at, the passion he has for making positive change is infectious. Being able to speak passionately about your subject or expertise makes for a better interview and therefore better PR opportunities.
The important thing to remember is the above points can be carried out by anyone. Not just the knights of this world. If you want to chat more about how to get the best PR opportunities for you and your brand, then get in touch.