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Most Rated 2012: ITPR

ITPR is one of the journalists' favourite PR agencies. Bob Dearsley, chief executive, and Kieran Kent, operations director explain their philosophy of media relations.

Bob Dearsley, chief executive, ITPR
Bob Dearsley, chief executive, ITPR

Age and ownership: The agency was founded in 1990 by chief executive, Bob Dearsley, who is still an integral part of the business.

Size: £1m turnover

Location: Chertsey and London

Specialism: Tech

Key accounts: Bentley Systems, IPL, Bond International Software and a number of start-ups such as 5app and MyDrive Solutions

Most Rated Agencies snapshot: ITPR is the most popular PR agency among tech journalists, beating some big names in tech PR. The agency’s staff are regarded as being friendly, easy to get hold of, and good at explaining their clients’ stories.



 

How I see it - by chief executive Bob Dearsley

 

What the journalists say

 
 

About the agency

"It is rare that I have ever had a problem with ITPR. Staff are generally very media savvy and understand the pressure hacks are under. I can’t recall ever going to a bad press conference or getting food poisoning at any of their functions."

 

Being top of the rankings is testament to the fact that our team has it instilled in them from the very outset that the journalist is our customer and outstanding customer service is what we do. 

We were actually delighted that the survey didn’t single out any one particular individual as leading the way in journalist engagement. Considering we were listed as journalists’ number one technology agency, the implication of this is that we have an outstanding team where everyone 'gets it' and all are equally impressive.

Operations Director, Kieran Kent, joined the business 13 years ago as a graduate and has spent his time creating a team of people who enjoy dealing with journalists and who care enough to celebrate excellent pieces of coverage. Our company training makes it very plain that "Thou shalt never commit the sin of uttering the words – "Did you get my press release?" yet it is expected of every team member to be able, if necessary, to argue convincingly why a press release is relevant and newsworthy for a given targeted publication.

Media-handling tips - by operations director Kieran Kent

At ITPR we ask all staff to treat journalists as customers – and to remember that no two customers are the same. We always make sure we have done our homework on journalists, asking ourselves questions such as what is the readership of the publication they work for?  What have they written about recently? And what's the best way to contact them – is it email, Twitter, or perhaps the good old-fashioned telephone!

This may sound like common sense and that's because it is! However, many a PR person has fallen into the trap of letting media relations best practice standards slip in the face of a demanding client who is insistent that their latest product press release is headline news, or expecting the opening of their new office to generate significant column inches.  The role of PRs is to advise clients on what makes a good story and this is where their insight, expertise and knowledge of the media is critical. 

Journalists will always value PRs who have done their research and can make a compelling case as to why their client’s story is relevant to the publication - what they don't appreciate is a PR that takes a scatter-gun approach to media outreach with little consideration about the journalist on the receiving end.

Personal contacts also help and we encourage all staff to get out of the office and meet with journalists face-to-face to develop relationships.  Yet ultimately it’s all about delivering newsworthy content in a timely fashion so make sure you know your audience.

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