“Women should be more connected natural things!” says cosmetics company, via OnePoll

With Summer around the corner, it might be time to start questioning how much time you spend immersed in Mother Nature:

Half of women suffering as they ‘don’t have time to enjoy nature’, study finds

Almost half of British women don’t have enough time to enjoy nature, it has emerged.

Researchers who carried out a detailed study found hectic workloads and busy family lives mean many go for long spells without taking time to enjoy Mother Nature’s creations.

Source: Mirror, 10th June 2019

Unless, of course, this story is just an excuse for a company to emphasise the importance of connecting with nature, in order to tie in to a spurious marketing hook:

The study was commissioned by naturally inspired skincare brand Liz Earle, who have partnered with Go Jauntly, an app designed to help city dwellers connect with the nature around them.

In classic Bad PR style, this story in the Mirror is taken word-for-word from the copy provided by news agency SWNS:

SWNS is a news agency which is owned by PR company 72 Point… who also own perennial Bad PR pollsters OnePoll. This story is the clearest possible demonstration of the way in which commercial quasi-advertising copy is laundered into the media unchecked:

  1. Lize Earle skincare hires PR company to incorporate the marketing/advertising hook into some content marketing copy
  2. PR company uses OnePoll to create data that backs up the PR angle they’ve already decided on
  3. PR company creates page-ready copy and publishes it via news agency SWNS, where it is disseminated for pick-up by media organisations (who might not have the time or inclination to check the source or verify any of the findings)
  4. Newspaper looking for something to fill its pages publishes the ad-driven copy as if it were a real story.

That said, there’s one aspect of this story that demonstrates the evolving face of PR content marketing: the by-lined author of the Mirror’s piece, Emma Elsworthy, is not a Mirror journalist. She isn’t a freelance journalist either… she is the “Creative Manager at content and news generation experts 72 Point“.

Gone are the days when newspapers even bothered having their junior desk reporters sift through PR copy to find stories ‘worth’ churning into the news – nowadays, they by-line the PRs who are being paid by their clients to secure space in newspapers.

In my opinion, the only reason this kind of practice doesn’t receive any outcry is because the Mirror don’t signpost which of their stories are written and by-lined entirely by PR companies. They pretend these stories are real journalists, and rely on their readers not to question it.