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A Discussion About New Media PR - Craig McGill Interview

A Discussion About New Media PR - Craig McGill Interview

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Published by David Bain
A Discussion About New Media PR - David Bain interviews Craig McGill on his experience in the PR industry
A Discussion About New Media PR - David Bain interviews Craig McGill on his experience in the PR industry

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Published by: David Bain on May 24, 2009
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06/14/2009

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Podcast Interview Transcript
- Craig McGill interview -
Key:
DB - David Bain (www.PurpleInternetMarketing.com)CM – Craig McGill (www.BeattieGroup.com)CM
 At Beattie Communications I’m a Senior Account Manager…
DBOkayCM
 And obviously with a specialised interest in technology and how to give it, it’s a muchderided term at the moment PR 2.0, taking on the new websites and so on, andthat’s very much my specialist area of interest. Seeing how things on the web andother parts of technology can take what used to be the humble press release andexpand on it and deliver it in new ways.
DBTell you what, could you begin by telling us a little bit about your ownpersonal background and how you evolved into the current position youare today?CM
 Yes sure. Obviously I started off like many a person in the PR sector, started off as a journalist working for the likes of the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Mirror, and alsoworked on the technology section at the Guardian and the Scotsman throughout theyears. After reaching the news desk and being the deputy news editor at the DailyMirror in Scotland, I changed careers into public relations, seeing, because by thatpoint in my career, IT technology had obviously come a long way from the first Apple© Copyright 2007-2008http://www.PurpleInternetMarketing.com. All Rights Reserved.
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machine that I had back in the 90s and with the internet and so on, taking over to anextent. I mean most people now if you want information you go to a company’swebsite and in particular, if there are press releases out there that’s where a lot of people now get information, even from a press point of view. So while there’s oftenbeen derision about people going from journalism into PR, nowadays thanks in partto modern technology the job is practically identical. It’s all about getting informationout there and I found that PR now allows for an incredible amount of detail to be outthere because press releases now are no longer just for the exclusive domain of acouple of journalists. Press releases have to be written as if they're being read bythe mass market in the same way that a newspaper story has to be written for themass market. What I’ve found is in Public relations at the moment clients are willingto grasp these ideas and potential a lot more quicker than some newspapers were.That’s not to put down the efforts of newspapers; newspapers in the UK especiallyand foremost Guardian Unlimited have grasped the potential very well but it’s been aslow revolution for many of the others. Whereas I’ve found that if you go tocompanies you can say, let’s try this, let’s try that and they're a lot more receptive tothose ideas. I mean, one example I find quite funny is that you still have somenewspapers now advertising blogs as if they're the next big thing and anyone at all inthe know will tell you blogs are now practically passé. Two years ago was the heightand now the cynicism has set in that they are just another marketing tool. That’s notto say there’s not a lot of good information still in blogs but at the same time, they'renot seen as the cutting edge as they once were.
DBRight okay. So what would you say personally is the cutting edge at themoment?CM
I think at the moment you're still seeing a lot of people going to Facebook, Bebo andthese sort of sites and that’s. Again you can see companies are getting into it andthe tide again will turn shortly in that. What’s the next big thing afterwards? I haveto be quite honest and say, I don’t know and they’ll be a million people on the webwho can happily speculate what the next big thing is but I think the beauty is thatvery often people don’t know. For example, ten or so years ago if someone had toldyou MP3 would be the music file format of choice, people would have scoffed. Yes itwas low compression but it’s not, as any good music lover will tell you, it’s not thebest digital sound that you're getting, it’s a very flat digital sound, yet it’s taken off ina way that no one else expected. Similarly, text messaging, even though it’s not partof the web as such, no one predicted the success of that. A lot of people thoughtblogs would stay a niche product. People thought things like My Space would beexclusively for teens. These things you can't always predict what the next fancy ornext big thing will be on the web. For example, I’m quite surprised, I think in thecorporate sense RSS is still to come and arrive in a big way because while a lot of websites and blogs have got it, it hasn’t been embraced at a corporate level, unlikeblogs which have been the corporate thing to adopt at the moment. So I think thenext six months to a year you’ll see a lot more companies adopting RSS as a way of © Copyright 2007-2008http://www.PurpleInternetMarketing.com. All Rights Reserved.
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getting their message out there.
DBThat’s an interesting point yes and also it makes it easier the fact that RSShas been integrated as part of Internet Explorer 7 of course as well. Whichhas…MC
Exactly.
DBGrown it massively as well. So, you certainly sound as if you’ve made theright move there. What made you choose the Beattie Group to move into?MC
Beattie have a fantastic reputation within the UK and also when chatting to the seniorteam at Beattie, the likes of Gordon Beattie, Martin Crines, Lorna O’Donnell, ChrisGilmore. They grasp the potential that is there. Many PR companies pay lip serviceto the idea of what the web can do without actually seeing the complete ramificationsof setting something up. Beattie very much have the proper approach. Whatimpressed me anyway was that okay, if you want technology to do something thentell us how it works. Don’t just say you’ve got this fantastic piece of Tec that’s nowlooking for a solution. Have the solution in place that the technology helps it becauseall too often you see, especially if you go to websites like The Register where thereare a lot of people who say, oh this is a great piece of Tec, this is a great piece of software, this does this, this does that but they haven’t thought about its real worlduse. With Beattie what they said was yep, we’ll do things but we won't set up aMySpace for every client just because we can. At Beattie they won’t use thetechnology or the new ideas just for the sake of it to look flashy, it’s got to fit in withwhat the customer wants and what benefits the customer will receive from that andthat was an ethos I quite like myself. It’s something I particularly bond to because Ibelieve while there is a lot of wonderful technology out there it has to be there for areason and not just for the sake of it.
DBOkay. So would you say that relationships still is king within PR or istechnology taking over from that?MC
I think that the relationship still has to be there at all levels, obviously there has to bethe relationship between customer and client. For example, it’s one thing for me tospout say the wonders of an RSS feed but if I can't have a good relationship with aclient to explain to them the benefits of it because ultimately, while many people seeyou doing something like an RSS feed or a podcast might be, a no-brainer. Again, if it’s not something people are used to, they have to take that little leap of faith for thefirst time and if you don’t have a relationship of trust with someone then it’s going tobe very difficult to convince them that it’s worthwhile. Similarly, for the client toreach their customer there has to be that trust of quality. You're not going to go andgive up seven or eight minutes listening to a podcast or go and play an interactive© Copyright 2007-2008http://www.PurpleInternetMarketing.com. All Rights Reserved.
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