What makes a good gossip in PR?
15th October 2013
I don't smoke, so I reckon I miss out on loads of gossip.
One of life’s great pleasures is when someone tells you they have a juicy bit of gossip.
Sharing gossip can be useful in PR, it helps you to bond with contacts, especially journalists. It helps you gain influence, but at the same time undermine career rivals. But, in order to be a good gossip, you need to follow basic rules.
Don’t make people feel too bad
There is a gossip balance to be had. Call me soft but when my gossip reduces people to tears, I can't help but feel guilty.
Make people feel good
If you're trying to get in with someone spread good gossip about them. This puts you in a positive light.
Don’t over share
Two elements here. Gossip must be exclusive, otherwise it's not gossip, it's rumour. And that is not the same.
Also gossip volume is vital. Yes, your client will want to know that you are going to have a baby. But no, they don’t want to know about your bunions. Or about your pet. Or what you had for dinner last night.
Make sure the gossip is true
There is nothing more disappointing than finding out some gossip isn’t true. If you make up gossip, you'll look like a tosser.
Be prepared to look foolish
But not too foolish. People love to hear stories about you making a twit of yourself, but be careful what you say to whom. It is a bad idea to tell a new client how you lost your last client loads of dosh, for example.
If it is big, give it a build-up, don’t spill the beans all at once
Make people beg you to dish the dirt. On the other hand, don’t build up something that isn’t that interesting. “You’ll never guess what I heard!” followed by “there is going to be engineering work on the District Line”, is bound to disappoint.