Journalists appreciate it when someone makes an effort, and show that they care with cake.
And it’s surprising how few PR professionals take advantage of this low-cost ‘secret weapon’ to gain cut-through.
Of course, I am not suggesting that this will work if you have a major crisis on your hands, and there will be many cases when it’s totally inappropriate.
You also need to work on the news story and nurture those all-important relationships.
But for your run-of-the-mill, it can work wonders.
Looking back on my rather long career I can think of several times when food made all the difference.
Recently I tempted journalists down to a little-known part of Bristol’s Floating Harbour, the Underfall Yard, on a grey, damp day. The ‘bait’ consisted of bacon butties and champagne (soft drink alternatives were available, dear Editors).
For Business Showcase South West it involved 10 cakes, with the event’s advert reproduced in icing sugar (total budget £122).
It took only one largish slice of chocolate cake, for me to persuade BBC Radio 4’s Andrew Bomford to cover the 40th home-coming anniversary for Brunel’s ss Great Britain. Fuelled by flour, butter, cocoa and sugar, he went on to interview HRH The Duke of Edinburgh for Broadcasting House.
Fortunately, you can still get cake through the BBC’s strict protocols and anti-bribery regulations.
And don’t let the vegetarians, vegans and dieters get in the way of your PR ambitions…. there is always fruit!