Tame the newshound and get up close with the media

by Chris Fairbairn

Friday, July 20th, 2018

Stop treating the press like a badly trained Pitbull – with media partnerships and the help of our Scottish PR agency


TO many, the media remains a snarling beast best left alone. 

In movie and TV fiction, a press pack is a cluster of aggression, with the dog eat dog nature of the profession characterised by shady journalists who’d sell their soul for an edge over a rival.

While the reality may differ (to varying degrees), it is evident that a paralysing fear of the media is a very real thing.

Trust us, we’ve seen it time and time again – whether it be a client with an understandable fear of being mis-represented, or a third-party who goes underground at the mere mention of working with the press.

Take it by the leash

Jennifer Aniston Dog GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

If you’re reading this and your holding position with the media is one of deep scepticism, then we’d encourage you to have a re-think.

The vast majority of reporters, regardless of their creed, wish to present information relevant to their audience, getting to the truth while presenting the whole picture.

In these well-documented challenging times for the media they are also up against it – typically, fewer journalists have to fill more print space while growing online audiences.

Perhaps nowhere is this felt more sharply than in local news outlets.

Buddy up

A media partnership can be a wonderful thing. Done well it provides a newspaper with regular, engaging content while freeing up reporters to focus on other issues.

But its not just a sop to the newshounds to help them out in tough times. It also provides you with guaranteed positive coverage, a fully delivered campaign from start-to-finish and an opportunity to deliver regular key messages to an audience via respected editorial, of much greater value and far more likely be read than equivalent paid-for advertorials.

Sound too good to be true? That’s because without the ability to provide sharp editorial content – or the contacts and reputation to establish and deliver for that crucial partnership – you’re effectively finished before you start.

In recent years we’ve been able to use our black book and reputation to deliver media partnerships to incredible effect, creating and actioning campaigns with distinct measurable outcomes.

ECHC Name change

Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity enjoying Charity PR

The Sick Kids Friends Foundation was a name synonymous with Edinburgh. The charity linked with the Royal Hospital for Sick Children has touched the lives of the vast majority of Edinburgh residents over the years – often at their most desperate times.

Coinciding with the creation of a new hospital – and understanding that the term ‘Sick Kids’ was no longer befitting in the modern world – a dramatic but important name change took place.

With the potential to cause confusion and even a drop in donations, this required a carefully considered campaign to ensure max awareness was achieved.

In addition to delivering broad online and print reach for Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity, we partnered with the Edinburgh Evening News to guarantee a run of articles and case studies – along with a front page feature.

Our campaign delivered:

  • 33 major media articles, including a front page; 10 items of national coverage and two items of broadcast – all with an extremely high sentiment score
  • Created 1,303,555 opportunities to see the charity’s important Key Messages, which appeared in 100% of coverage
  • Website visits increased by 25.47% – with an impressive increase of 122.28% to the donation page
  • The number of donations increased by 124% – while online donation value increased by 137%
  • The rise in donations during the month represented a ROI of 390%
  • Facebook page Likes grew by 1187 and social media reach was 784,107 with 53,400 engagements
  • Delivered more than 43,000 organic video views

ECHC rebranding imagesRead our full ECHC case study, explaining how we took on changing the moniker of Edinburgh’s best loved children’s charity – while boosting donations, positive media coverage and social engagement

CALA Bursary 2017

As a responsible developer CALA Homes (East) took the decision to launch a community bursary, offering good causes the chance to apply for a share of £10,000.

We sought a collaboration with the East Lothian Courier (ELC), guaranteeing the title both partner status and regular, exclusive content. This required careful negotiation to reflect that it was about earned media and not a paid or advertorial partnership.

Across six articles prior to the panel meeting, we were able to deliver incredible results:

  • Generated 129 applications, double that of the next most successful CALA Bursary from seven across the UK
  • 10 of the 12 largest communities in East Lothian were represented, including all five most populated towns
  • Fears of poor uptake were neutralised. CALA responded to unprecedented demand by doubling fund to £20,000
  • ELC editor Robbie Scott joined the panel. The campaign also generated supportive quotes from a number of groups and good causes

We believe this was an overwhelming success. But don’t just take our word for it – we won gold for “Best Community Relations” at the CIPR PRide awards (Scotland) 2017 – essentially our industry Oscars.

CALA Bursaries 2018

Following the overwhelming success of 2017, CALA took the decision to take on two bursaries, in East Lothian and Midlothian – require simultaneous campaigns run side by side in each region – posing a potentially huge challenge.

Thankfully we were able to secure media partnerships with both the East Lothian Courier (ELC) and Midlothian Advertiser (MA).

A reflection of the success was that ELC editor, Robbie Scott, and the MA group editor, Janet Bee, both agreed to sit on the reflective selection panels.

We were able to deliver:

  • Generated 201 applications, (99 in Midlothian and 102 in East Lothian)
  • 15 items of coverage between the MA and ELC with 86,685 Opportunities To See
  • Entries came from each of the 14 most populous areas in East Lothian and all but one of the nine most populous Midlothian locations
  • Both ELC and MA editors joined the panel. The campaigns also generated supportive quotes from a number of groups and good causes

Partner up with our Scottish PR agency

We’ve proven in recent years that media partnerships can deliver incredible outcomes for clients – and we’ve even won awards for it.

If you are interested in using our expertise to deliver similar organisation and behaviour-changing campaigns, get in touch on 0131 561 2244 or by using the form below:

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