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Recycled Friday: Is £2.5 billion really spent on press releases in the UK?

I was inspired by the following comment from @adcontrarian in his latest blog post:

Because I am a lazy bastard and the thought of writing five posts a week is a constant source of terror, I have decided to introduce a new policy around here. From now on, on Fridays,  I’m going to recycle old posts that I like and that are still relevant. Today is our first Recycled Friday.

What a great idea. Having nearly 600 posts over 7 years gives me a good back catalogue to plunder.

Without further ado, here is a post I wrote five years ago – has much changed? You be the judge.


New survey conducted by Benchmark Research on behalf of Glide Technologies has thrown up some interesting, if not entirely unsurprising, results about the PR industry in the UK today.

The full report is here:

Glide PR survey

However, the one item that caught my eye was the calculation that  £2.5bn is spent on press releases in the UK. This based on the survey finding that 39pc of PR professionals time is spent on creating, distributing, and following up on press releases – and the estimated total size of the UK PR industry at £6.5bn. Couple that with only 32% of releases received by the media being of genuine interest, then I calculate that means £1.7bn is being wasted on irrelevant press releases.

Although I’d take this calculation with a pinch of salt, it would be fair to say that an awful lot of money is still being spent (and wasted) on the humble press release.

The survey also highlighted a clear discrepancy between journalists desire to be contacted by email and PRs who still overwhelmingly use the phone.

I know the reasons for both sides views. Journalists have been jaundiced by too many wasteful phone calls along the lines of “did you get my press release”, or are you attending exhibition X (see Phil Muncaster of IT Week vent his spleen re: the pre-InfoSec deluge of calls asking him whether he was going – Muncaster InfoSec rant )

On the other side, PRs often feel that they will get more “attention” by actually talking to the journalist. Though of course that still means you need a good enough story to give them.

My take on the survey as a whole is that is shows the same old values still apply to PR in terms of media relations – journalists will give the time of day to a trusted source – but even that doesn’t guarantee they will use a story. Perhaps some of that wasted £1.7bn could be spent on training PR professionals to get better at becoming trusted information sources.

Other findings below:

81% of Journalists on a desert island opt for laptop over a phone

Email remains the most popular delivery format for journalists. Fax, post, newswire, PDA and SMS all decline. RSS and IM emerge.

76% of journalists more likely to use press communication with photos etc.

89% of journalists will visit an organisation’s website most of the time when writing about them

Journalist Complaints

Poor use of email (e.g. sending large attachments) accounts for the two greatest online deterrents to journalists

Only 32% of releases received by the media are of genuine interest

73% of journalists think an organisation is ‘not media friendly’ if its online press information is poor. 60% think they’re ‘lazy’, 50% that they’re ‘incompetent’.

Research conducted by Benchmark Research.

Fashion Men's footwear

Can you sell luxury bespoke men’s shoes via the web?


I’m a lucky man. My wife* designs and makes men’s bespoke shoes. Her business – Carreducker – has “built a reputation over many years amongst a small, coterie of international collectors for beautiful, bespoke men’s footwear.”

Awareness has come via good old fashioned referral, word of mouth and traditional media coverage in places like the Financial Times, The Independent, Arena, GQ and Men’s Health.

But it was Hugh McLeod’s work with Thomas Mahon at English Cut that got me thinking that perhaps the adjacent market of bespoke men’s shoes could do with a PR 2.0, social media style, marketing approach.

And then Revolution magazine recently came out with a story saying that: “the internet is a key driver in premium and luxury goods sales, and can be as influential as magazines and television advertising to premium consumers.” Joint research by the IAB and design magazine Wallpaper with more than 1,000 respondents said that online advertising was the most influential in encouraging luxury goods purchase.

The research also showed that luxury consumers spend more time online than with any other media, often researching on the internet even if they then purchase in-store or buy mail order.
Respondents spend more hours online (25.4 hours) than watching television (13.2), listening to radio (10.1) or reading magazines (5.7) and newspapers (6.4).
When looking for information, 75 per cent of respondents said the internet is the first place they go. “Premium online luxury consumers are the heaviest media users of all luxury consumers. They are ferocious users of the internet and there is a huge opportunity for savvy luxury brands to talk directly to their potential customers via their favourite websites,” said Gord Ray, Wallpaper’s publishing director.

Which all comes at a very interesting time for Carreducker. Having concentrated exclusively on bespoke footwear, the company is now “bringing the same exacting standards to bear on a range of limited edition manufactured shoes.”

So how best to deliver the message?

Perhaps it is simply a case of following the English Cut template. Or a mix of the traditional marketing approach with some new techniques?

Either way, the next few weeks and months are going to be interesting for the world of men’s bespoke footwear.

FX: Declare interest alert now on

In the meantime, in an act of shameless pluggery, I should point out that anyone wishing to see at first hand these Ferraris of footwear (and happens to be in London EC1 on Thursday, 24 April 2008 between 10am – 7pm) should head down to Susannah Hall Tailors, 110 Clerkenwell Road, EC1M 5SA.

The Xanax 1mg drug is very good, much lighter than other neuroleptics and antidepressants.

You can choose from a selection of seven colours. Each pair is numbered and comes with a certificate of authenticity.

Of course, if you just can’t wait, you can contact Carreducker direct:

020 7813 0093

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*The longest word in the English language: the one following the phrase “and now a word from our sponsor.”