As the very important budget session is now on in Parliament, it also means a very hectic time for PR professionals pitching budget stories. Seasoned PR professional Amit Gupta and young PR professional Devesh Purohit share a typical day in their life pitching budget stories.
Is the Budget season almost festival-like?
Amit Gupta, the founder of ‘The Reppro’, a public relations and public policy advisory, shares his experience pitching. budget stories.
Says Gupta, "The Union Budget has ceased to be just an ‘annual financial statement of accounts for the nation’. Today, it almost generates a festival-like vibe, catching the attention of folks across the socio, economic and demographic spectrum!
Budget is also one of the rare events that reverberate with those in the highest echelon to the proverbial ‘common man’ and hence its media reportage is massive! From dedicated budget reporters to pages earmarked for budget-related commentary, there’s palpable excitement in the media and PR fraternity in the run up to the all-important day.
Interestingly, the budget generates a great degree of bonhomie between PR and media fraternity given that both have a need to fill – perspective from sector leaders, pre-budget expectations, demands of the industry, post-budget reaction etc ensure that there’s a greater degree of cohesion than ever! PR folks of course work overtime to ensure that their clients have a share of voice in the all-important budget commentary, pre or post!
Speaking purely from a PR agency perspective, the budget day is hectic like no other – from having a brushed-up media list to making notes during the budget speech and then getting clients to sign off a reactive statement, it is a race to meet media timelines. One of the biggest takeaways for me is the fact that the budget brings a lot of young PR folks closer to policy and compels them to wrap their heads around key drivers of a business."
Huge pressure on PR professionals during the budget season
An account by Devesh Purohit, PR Professional
Purohit shares, "For pre-budget stories, we have to keep track of all the journalists, especially the ones who do industry stories, relevant to our clientele verticals right from the first week of January. There are times when some supportive professionals share the information in the public domain in groups for everyone to leverage the opportunity.
The way-forward plans in December and January are incomplete without the mention of pre-budget, budget and post-budget opportunities
From the journalist's perspective, they receive hundreds of inputs and they are bound to choose a select few depending on the news value and many communications professionals are left disappointed. This is part of the process.
On 1st February, the day when the Honorable Finance Minister shares the Union Budget, it is like every PR team becomes an economist for that day. It requires sharp attention, and quick input drafting, the approval process needs to be swift and the accuracy of the messaging along with the creativity needs to be credible.
The following week is again full of follow-ups, pitches and drafting making us PR folks as the most active resource. Most of the time, not every pitch and input from every agency gets media coverage.
Therefore PR professionals have huge pressure on them to show the pre-budget story pitching process in the monthly reports for the clientele in January and February. February end involves budget and post-budget opportunities report for the clients."