The Importance of Speed in PR: A Wake-Up Call for UK SMEs

The Importance of Speed in PR: A Wake-Up Call for UK SMEs

In the fast-paced world of public relations, timing is everything. As someone who has spent years navigating the intricacies of media relations and crisis management, I cannot stress enough how critical speed is when it comes to getting your name featured in news stories.

This is particularly true in the context of events with immense public interest, such as the recent UK general election.

Why Speed Matters

When news breaks, journalists are on high alert, looking for fresh angles, expert opinions, and immediate reactions. The window of opportunity to provide these insights is often measured in minutes, not days. Sending a reaction comment four days after a major event is not just ineffective—it’s a colossal waste of time and resources.

Imagine this scenario: A significant political event unfolds, and your PR company drafts a perfect response. However, it sits in their inbox for days, only to be sent out when the news cycle has moved on. By then, the media has already published numerous stories and moved on to the next big thing. Your carefully crafted comment is now irrelevant, buried under a pile of newer updates.

The Financial Cost of Delays

For SMEs, every pound counts. Hiring a PR company can be a significant investment, but if they are slow to respond, you might as well take that money out to the car park and set fire to it. At least then, you’ll get some warmth in this unseasonable British summer. A delayed reaction not only fails to capitalise on the immediate news cycle but also wastes the budget allocated for timely PR interventions.

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Actionable Advice for SMEs

Set Clear Expectations

: Ensure that your PR company understands the importance of speed. Set clear guidelines for how quickly they need to respond to major events.

Prepare in Advance: Work with your PR team to prepare draft responses for various scenarios. Having pre-approved comments can save precious time when news breaks.

Stay Informed: Keep abreast of major news events, especially those relevant to your industry. This allows you to provide timely and relevant reactions.

Leverage Social Media: Sometimes, your official channels might be slower. Use social media platforms to share immediate reactions while your PR team crafts a more detailed response.

Evaluate Performance: Regularly review the performance of your PR company. If they consistently fail to deliver timely responses, it might be time to reconsider your partnership.

In the realm of public relations, particularly during high-stakes events like general elections, speed is not just an advantage—it’s a necessity. SMEs must ensure their PR companies are equipped to act swiftly and effectively. Delayed reactions are a waste of time and money, undermining the very purpose of engaging PR professionals. By prioritizing speed and setting clear expectations, SMEs can enhance their media presence and make the most of every opportunity.

Remember, in PR, being second is not an option. Be first, be fast, and make your mark.


Richard Alvin

Richard Alvin

Richard Alvin is a serial entrepreneur, a former advisor to the UK Government about small business and an Honorary Teaching Fellow on Business at Lancaster University. A winner of the London Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the year and Freeman of the City of London for his services to business and charity. Richard is also Group MD of Capital Business Media and SME business research company Trends Research, regarded as one of the UK’s leading experts in the SME sector and an active angel investor and advisor to new start companies. Richard is also the host of Save Our Business the U.S. based business advice television show.

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