January 13, 2012

Show Daily Madness Means Working Together....Our Interview with Darren Lake

Today we're chatting with Darren Lake. Darren hails from the UK and makes the trek to Orlando to produce the I/ITSEC Show Daily. I've been fortunate to work with Darren in spreading the word about my clients' news at the show but I've always wondered why anyone would sign up for such a task. With hundreds of vendors - and inevitably hundred of PR people and hundreds of press releases - I can only envision the insanity and hard work that must ensue. So, today Darren shares a little insight into how we can help out his team in the development of valuable news for the Show Daily and Shephard Media Publications.

Name: Darren Lake

Beau - Whose face is not to be trusted.
Title: Publishing Director, Land & Support Editor

Publications: Shephard Media Publications, I/ITSEC Show Daily

Home Base: Slough, United Kingdom
Twitter: @ShephardNews

Blog: Not yet, it’s a bit scary
Pets: Beau the cocker spaniel

Quirks: Not too many I hope
Contact Info: darren.l@shephardmedia.com, +44 1753 727022

DTP: Tell me Darren, we’re hot off the heels at I/ITSEC where you along with your team have the insane task of writing and producing the Show Daily. Do you have any advice to PR pros who want to pitch you at the show?
DL: The best advice I can give is to get your story ideas and press releases to us early. We start to work on the Show Daily in the week before the event and quite often we’re full in terms of stories by early in the event. 

The second bit of advice is to make sure you have good print quality images to go with your news. It helps us make a decision on what goes in and of course enhances the story. 

DTP: Regarding PR and Marketing, how do you think the defence industry is changing? 

DL: Well certainly in the case of North America and parts of Europe there is a much greater emphasis on using social media to keep in contact with journalists. On the marketing side it tends to still be a very traditional and conservative culture, but I think that really reflects the client base. 

DTP: Where do you get your story ideas from? 

DL: All sorts of places. There are obviously press releases from PR contacts, we watch a lot of social media feeds, but you can’t beat face to face time with people at shows or conferences.

DTP: What is the biggest mistake (or missed opportunity) you see PR people make when pitching you and your colleagues? 

DL: I guess the main one is not always understanding what the news angle is for us. I can’t count the number of times that the most interesting bit of news in a release has been buried somewhere in paragraph 18. 

DTP: What advice can you give to PR and marketing pros when sending you a pitch? What distinguishes a great pitch from those that get tossed in the bin? 

DL: Well for us it really has to have a business to business angle. Contracts, new technology, that sort of thing.

DTP: What makes a great spokesperson? 

DL:Someone who can be candid and has been well briefed by their company. Also, someone who is happy to trust journalists and go off the record when necessary.

DTP: Shephard Media has an established brand and well-respected group of publications. What’s next? Will you be heading online? 

DL: We’ve just revamped our website and changed the company name and domain to Shephard Media. That reflects an increased emphasis on the online part of the business. We recognize that it’s an important way to get the news out there with our magazines being journals of record. 

We’re also looking at digital versions of the magazine and have an established twitter presence. 

DTP: What is your perspective on the influence of social media and journalism? 

DL: I think it has become increasingly important. You speak to journalists in other sectors and it’s having a huge impact. I don’t think aerospace and defence has been an early adopter, but I’m sure that we’ll see the influence continue to grow over the next few years. 

DTP: Any last words of wisdom – opinions, suggestions, etc. – for the PR and marketers out there? 

DL: Not really I guess the main thing is to just make sure that you don’t forget us B2B guys. There’s quite often a focus on high profile online and national media – but where do you think they’re getting their story ideas and information from in the first place?


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