As a PR working in an international environment here at 10 Yetis, I have the chance to work with both English and French journalists, allowing me to see the differences between both countries when it comes to journalism and PR. I haven’t noticed many, but there are still a few differences that remain between ze French and ze roastbeefs when pitching a story, so I thought I would share what are, for me, the four main differences between both countries.
As a general rule, France is usually behind the USA and the UK trend-wise. We’re not losers, we’re just…slow. One of the main areas where we are, in my opinion, massively behind, is surprisingly social media.
Whereas the large majority of UK-based journalists are all over social networks to not only shout about stories, but also to engage with PRs and companies or even to look out for stories, research and share information, French journalists are not on the same page. If you’re a PR yourself, you’ve probably seen or used the hashtag #journorequest or #pr on Twitter. Very useful, but non-existent on le Twitter francais. Journalists in France mainly use Twitter for economic or political matters. Don’t get me wrong, you will find journalists on Twitter, but nowhere near as many as you do in England.
I personally think that journalist and media requests through the likes of Response Source and Gorkana are the best things in my whole PR world, only because we don’t have them in France. Shocking. It was one of my ‘PR revelations’ when I started working here at 10 Yetis HQ. It is an effective, quick way for journalists to target PRs and for PRs to 1. Find the right person to contact and 2. Not miss any coverage opportunities for their client. A win/ win situation, but I’m still not sure why this has not made it through to France yet.
I have come across many situations where a client was advertising in a magazine and where I could nicely ask the advertising manager to speak with a journalist to include a few words in the editorial pages. Do not expect the same treatment in France, as advertising and editorial never ever mix their business. In my opinion, it makes sense.
National newspapers are a lot more traditional and conservative in France. If I could describe what a French newspaper looked like, I would probably have to compare it to the Guardian or The Times. You won’t find anything controversial like you might see in some of the tabloids here. If you don’t have the knowledge about French media, then make sure you get a bit of background information before contacting them as the kind of stories you pitch to national newspapers here are probably not very likely to match their editorial beat over there.
I have learnt many things from both sides of my French and English PR day to day experiences and hope that I am bringing the best of both in how I pitch and approach journalists.
In the meantime if you fancy a bit of franglais tweeting, you can follow me here @FrencheVsLizie