This month we have been dealing with a lot of wasps. Luckily, on this occasion they are wasps in the media rather than wasps in the house. As you will probably have noticed, the papers have been full of stories about people being attacked by wasps. In August, The Sun reported how a man and his two sons had been attacked by wasps during a country bike ride and, in September, the BBC reported on a woman being attacked by wasps while she pushed her daughter in a buggy. Wasps have even made it onto the big screen, literally, when a giant wasp appeared on BBC Scotland news.
You may wonder why a public relations company is so interested in wasps. This is because, for the last six years we have been working with a pest control company – Cleankill Environmental Services Ltd – and they are experts in dealing with all kinds of pests, including wasps.
Back in July they asked us to prepare a news item which would help people recognise the difference between a wasp and bee. This was because they had noticed an increase in the number of people contacting them about wasp nests, only for the technician to discover they were actually bees. While both can be difficult to live with, in general we try to protect bees because they are important pollinators.
Following this, we worked with a freelance journalist and helped them write a story about the German Wasp – Vespula Germanica. I contacted Paul at Cleankill and he furnished me with a few facts and some quotes. I passed these on to the journalist and asked that they include the company name in any articles.
Part of our remit with Cleankill is to also write news items for their website and, since this seemed like too good an opportunity to miss, we wrote a news item offering advice on how to deal with wasps and avoid getting stung. So far, from one subject, we had created two news items and passed on some information to a journalist.
This was when things became exciting. Our client’s name then began to appear in some of the national press. The first paper we saw it in was The Daily Star, this was quickly followed by the other national newspapers: The Sun, The Mirror, Metro and The Daily Mail. Following this, Paul’s quotes started appearing in the local press: firstly in Plymouth , then Portsmouth, Yorkshire , Doncaster, with others following. They even made to Scotland, in The Sunday Post and The Southern Reporter, and Ireland. So, from one piece of information, our client was now getting name-checks around the country.
And it didn’t stop there. With other stories appearing in the press about wasps, Cleankill were suddenly in demand on local radio and was booked to appear on the BBC Sussex Radio Breakfast Show with Neil Pringle. Our friends at QDOS Computer Consultants Ltd then managed to isolate Paul’s section of the broadcast and produced a Youtube video, which was then placed on Cleankill’s Youtube Channel. To listen to their segment, click here.
And then it went quiet...until last Wednesday when the same full attributed quotes appeared in the article, “Why are there wasps in my bathroom?”, on the BBC News website. This article has now gone global by being included on a global news website, Rocket News.
This subject has since become the subject of Paul’s monthly Cleankill blog and, as you can see, it has become the subject of our blog for September. For a public relations company, wasps have been the gift that keeps giving. Our clients have received coverage in both local and national press, on local radio, and on the behemoth of online news – the BBC News website. In addition, we have been able to create content to drive to Cleankill’s social media feeds.
It just goes to show how important it is to generate and maintain good relations with journalists, as without that initial contact we wouldn’t have been able to create so much from basically a few facts and a couple of quotes. In addition, it is also important to know how to build on the content that has been produced. In this case, we have tried to break up the delivery of similar stories in order to avoid boring our social media followers. Finally, the interaction between the Cleankill website and these major media websites, helps with SEO for our client.
It genuinely gets me excited when work creates traction of its own, although I was disappointed that this year we didn’t get any newspaper headlines as brilliant as last year’s, “Ouch, Achstung!“, in The Sun newspaper.