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Marketability eBulletin

Welcome to our latest fortnightly eBulletin, posted here on 16 February 2021. In this issue:

From the front line of an ongoing publicity campaign

Last month I volunteered to help our local stables and Riding for the Disabled centre. Park Lane Stables is in a residential Teddington side street and threatened by closure because the landlord wants to sell. They need to raise £1million to buy the building for the community.

I’m very much still on the front line, and it’s as stressful as I remembered, but the highs are very high! Last week we secured prime TV coverage on Good Morning Britain, fronted by a local celebrity. We’re glued to the Crowdfunder page watching the donations come in. It’s rewarding.

Here are 10 tips for any of you planning to conduct a PR campaign targeting broadcast media:

  1. Start by making a list of who you know. Great contacts just open doors. And you can successfully reach out to new ones, especially via Twitter.
  2. Give your press release a clear focus and a human interest story. It’s essential collateral to get out there, along with good images. These things in combination (plus our celebrity) worked fantastically well as we worked the story up with GMB.
  3. Write individual covering emails that speak directly to the person or medium addressed. The opening lines are critical. Why do you think it should appeal to them?
  4. Only propose interviewees you’re confident can deliver, who are articulate and will communicate their passion in the story. (We were told by some donors that they found the story so moving they just had to donate.)
  5. Be prepared to agree to exclusivity, and honour it. This doesn’t mean you couldn’t do anything else anywhere; it does mean that you should check back if in any doubt, so producers know they can trust you.
  6. Coach your interviewees. Suggest they identify 3 things they need to say to make sure they remember. Talk through the strategy the day before. The whole interview will be over in what feels like seconds. Too many are over before the main points are made.
  7. Make sure it’s easy for people to act on what they’ve heard. Some media won’t allow you to give contact details, but you can make sure you’re easy to find on Google. (In our case the Stables’ owner wore a branded baseball cap and stood in front of a board with the Crowdfunder URL prominent.)
  8. Don’t announce the big coverage until you know it’s definitely in the bag. A lot gets bumped because a bigger story breaks at the last minute. We also didn’t reveal our celebrity out of respect to him, but we did post on all social channels the evening before saying ‘watch tomorrow to find out who it is!’
  9. The bigger the coverage, the greater the momentum, so milk it, share it, all you can, and encourage everyone to do the same.
  10. And finally, say thank you to the people who’ve given you the coverage. You may even get follow up time or space.

If you’d like to find out more about this unfolding campaign, do visit the Park Lane Stables Crowdfunder page. You can watch the GMB feature from the latest update, and the supporter comments make wonderful reading. And of course, if the story touches you, be part of it by sharing and/or donating.

I could add an 11th tip to the list above, which is ‘Don’t underestimate how much time a publicity campaign takes’. If you’re lucky enough to be successful, it will take over your life. If that’s something I could help you with, get in touch at


What should a conference cost?

Ever complained about how much an organiser was asking to attend a (physical) conference? And now they’re all online, what cost is reasonable?

This is another thought-provoking and useful post on The Scholarly Kitchen, whether you’re trying to decide which events you should attend, or setting up your own and deciding how much to charge.

This resonated with me as I occasionally encounter people who believe that online events should be free, as if the content being shared was dropped into the presenter’s hands without the need for any preparation.

Read on The Scholarly Kitchen.

Our Academic Marketing Workshop covers this topic. Available as an online in-company course, or ask us about dates for public courses in 2021.


New to journals marketing? Join me on next month’s ALPSP course

Introduction to Journals Marketing runs on 23 and 24 March. It ran twice in 2020 and both sessions were fully booked, lively and interactive, with participants from three continents taking part. Much as we’d prefer to meet everyone in a training room, we love that online training can bring together marketers from different countries to share their experience, questions and ideas.

Would you like to join us?


On The Marketability Grapevine on Facebook

  • See photos of filming at Park Lane Stables last week, and our mystery local celebrity revealed.
  • Read something that hit the spot in this eBulletin? Click through and like the item or add a comment on Facebook
  • Watch the wall for postings of new jobs, or feel free to add to them.

Visit The Marketability Grapevine


Tip of the week: Don’t let an external agency ‘strip out your jargon’

An academic publishing client shared her experience of working with a copywriting agency who had proudly ‘stripped out the jargon’ to make the copy easier to read. Trouble is, they’d removed all the specialist keywords that the reader needed.

Yes, your copy should always be written in plain English. No, this does not mean removing the very vocabulary that tells readers you’re relevant. If you find this distinction tricky, try asking us for help instead – or join us on a Copywriting Workshop where we always explore this topic.





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