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#WeArePR: Anders Sverke on how PR has evolved over 27 years

Blog post   •   Jun 03, 2015 11:47 BST

Anders Sverke is the 2nd interviewee for the #WeArePR series, an exploration into the evolving world of communications through #PRTech.

Who are you? What is your job, and what does that involve?

I work for Saint-Gobain Abrasives in Sweden. We sell abrasive products to the industry and I’ve been working here for 27 years across marketing and communications, all the way from advertising to PR.

I was studying business administration at the University of Uppsala, and marketing was more fun than accounting. So that’s why I ended up in this kind of business!

How has PR and Marketing changed from what you first expected you were getting into 27 years ago?

In the very beginning, a long time ago, I was typing up press releases on the typewriter and sending them out by post. We were only talking about advertising in printed magazines, catalogues and brochures.

Today with all the digital media we work with, it’s incredibly different. You can do things much quicker. If I get an idea to publish something, I just do it and it’s done in 10 minutes. 15 years ago, it would take weeks.

What mistakes have you made over the years that were most memorable and helped you develop?

In the very beginning I didn’t understand how to write a press release to get it published. That’s because the trade magazines are very important in our industry, even today. In these magazines, the editor doesn’t have time to rewrite things that he gets on his desk. They are totally dependent on the input they get from various companies.

Once I understood that the less re-writing the editor has to do, and the more images I provide them with, I had a much better chance to get published.

Who have you learned from over the years? Is there anyone that has shaped the way you think about PR and how you go about it?

In our company, I’m the only one working with marketing communications. I don’t have any colleagues to share information with. So actually one of the major reasons I liked and used Mynewsdesk so much was that they really mentor and take care of their customers by having seminars like Mynewsday. They really try to teach you.

How do you think PR is going to continue to change next?

It’s hard to say, because we are working in a conservative industry where printed magazines are still quite important. It might change in the future so that the social media will get more important than the old-fashioned print magazines. It will be a slow process for the industry to catch on though.

How are you currently measuring the success of your PR?

I monitor all the print trade magazines that concern our business. In Sweden, it’s about 20 to 25 different magazines.

That means during the year, I usually publish about 25 press releases on new products, which leads to more than 100 articles published in the trade press every year.

It works. Let me give you an example.

The beginning of this week, I published a press release on a new product at 7 o’clock in the morning using Mynewsdesk. At 8:30, one customer had called one of our sales reps and placed an order on that product because they had seen it.

What advice would you give someone starting in PR today? What do you think would help them do a good job?

You have to define your target audience and understand the way they pick up information. Also remember there’s a huge difference between our very conservative industry compared to if you sell consumables like toothpaste or whatever. As we talked about, social media is not very important for us, but for someone like Coca-Cola it is the incredibly powerful.