Last month I was flattered to be invited to participate in a special webinar on what B2B PRs should be doing in the current crisis. Entitled ‘B2B Tech PR in the time of Covid19,’ the event (March 26th) was organised by the nice people over at Champion Communications.
I’d been struck a couple of times during the start of the Pandemic by the tone being struck by its MD, Richard Cook, which has consistently been one accentuating the importance of helping people and our common humanity, even (especially!) in business right now. (I really recommend you read his LinkedIn post here.)
I was joined online (via, of course, Zoom) with two old colleagues, SA (Steven) Mathieson (The Register, The Guardian and Computer Weekly, who is also now teaching on the MA Journalism course at one of my old places of learning, Birkbeck College, London) and Guy Clapperton (The Guardian, Times, Independent, Financial Times and Sunday Telegraph, but who now seems to be mainly a podcaster, with his ‘The Near-Futurist’ audio work).
I briefly worked with Steven when I came on-board at Computing in 1998, and he’s been so kind as to offer me work over the many years since, and I had collaborated with Guy in the late 00s on the Journalism and PR Pitching Training courses I used to run with Sally Whittle over at the:101 (I’m delighted to say Sally’s back in the training game with her excellent work on influencers; if you’re working in influencer outreach, you really need to know this stuff!). So it was great to be on the same call, as it’s been years since I had spoken to them, neither of them being great ones for the old computer journalism get-togethers I tend to go to (a testament to them being way more sensible than me, doubtless).
In any case, I found the resultant conversation to be at once highly stimulating and also rather moving. It always kind of tickles me when PRs realise that we computer writers are, despite our fierce (and, yes, often egotistical) exteriors and public personae, actually total softies. And it was also really great to reassure the audience that we also know they are human… I personally had more than one convo with super-stressed young Execs the first few days of the Lockdown who were clearly having a very bad time, and that, to coin one of my most famous own-jokes (ahem), ‘This is PR, not ER: no-one’s going to die.’
If you have a chance, I recommend you download the webinar and see what all of us have to say. I agree with Richard; in these current times, we do really need to work together.