Albertina Lloyd, Showbiz & Film journalist for the Press Association
In an interview with Albertina Lloyd, Showbiz & Film journalist for the Press Association, she provides insight into how PR’s could interact with features departments and how video content and the right level of brand integration can make a difference to your story’s coverage.
Hi Albertina, thanks for joining us. Tell us about the PA Entertainment, what you do and how it fits within PA.
I work for the online entertainment service Premier Showbiz, which many people don’t realise is part of PA. We supply a variety of clients and publications with online stories as part of their subscription. We provide a minimum of thirty stories a day and we write them to a specific style, which is quite different compared to the style of stories that go on the newswire. The style of our stories is a bit more gossipy, a bit chattier, than the stories that would appear on the newswire. However, when we have a relevant showbiz news story we also write for the newswire.
We also aim for our stories to have good SEO optimisation so they get high hits on Google for our clients, so we have quite a different style to the wire in that sense as well.
What sort of stories do you cover?
Our stories vary between TV, film, soap stories, music stories and general showbiz gossip. We cover all breaking showbiz gossip-related news in the US and in the UK, so if there is a big story breaking, we will follow it up, make sure it is accurate, check with people’s publicists to see if they have a statement to make and then we write it and put it out on our wire.
How do you get your info on stories?
We have a team of about seven people. We obtain our information from red-carpet events, showbiz parties, interviews & press releases. We also monitor the newswire and the AP newswire. If we come across a story that is relevant to our service, we adapt those stories and put them out on our online service.
What about branded stories?
Branded stories are a bit different, and we have to be careful with them. Our clients don’t want an advertorial, or something that looks like an advertorial. Obviously branded stories are very common, we get offered stories like that all the time, but we have to make sure we can make them work. We are happy to do branded stories if we can interview the celebrities, talk to them about something in their life or job, perhaps relate it to something that integrates the product into the story, and that is a better way of mentioning the product or brand. We can also put a credit at the bottom of the story saying we talked to them in relation to this…For instance it can’t just be Simon Cowell loves “brandX”. That is never going to work as it has to be interesting to the audience.
Where does the content you produce go?
We supply clients including MSN, Yahoo, IPC magazines, Hello! and a lot of regional papers who all take the online showbiz feed.
At the same time I overlap with the wire so if I get a story that is more suitable for the newswire, a bit more traditional or more newsy, it goes on the newswire as well, again in a different style to Premier Showbiz! I also write celebrity interviews for the features wire.
Is video an important part/becoming more important?
Yes, definitely, video is really important to us, we have clients who take video clips with their stories, so we work with video journalists going to things like red-carpet events, or we do video junkets. In that way we’ve got the interviews and we can use them in print form online and on the wire but we also clip up videos to run with our stories online too.
Depending on what we need we either work with the PA video team or we do the videos junkets ourselves as there will just be a fixed camera in place. This is a really good way of us doing interviews rather than just a print interview as we are killing two birds with one stone.
What is the best way for a PR to get in touch with you and the team?
Probably the best way to get in touch with us is over email. We’ve got joint email address for the whole team which is firstname.lastname@example.org. The whole team gets that and we do respond to that if we get press releases that we are interested in or interview opportunities. Because of the nature of our job a lot of us are out of the office or covering different things so it’s important to reach the whole team.
Do you mind follow up calls?
Follow up calls can be a good idea, especially when the PR draws attention to an aspect of the story I might have not noticed if it’s a very busy day and we have been flooded with press releases. Of course whether I would take the call or not depends on how busy I am.
So what would be the best time for PRs to contact you and the team?
First thing in the morning isn’t a good time to call as we have to come in and get all the stories ready that have broken overnight. The best time for PRs to contact us would usually be after midday when everything starts to calm down.
Thank you very much for your time