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Lucie Robet

Published on

November 7, 2016


International PR

We, the French, always want to be considered “l’Exception Culturelle” and we would love to tell you that doing PR in France is completely different than in the rest of Europe and the world…

But the fact is PR in France is not that different than anywhere else.

Our print media landscape has considerably shrunk in the past 10 years.

Just like everywhere in the world, the online media have progressively replaced the print press in France. Newspaper and magazine sales keep going down, month after month.

Newsjacking works.

Quickly responding to emerging news stories and developing a response in order to generate media coverage is a successful tactic in our real-time media world. At LEWIS, we have become experts in the art of newsjacking and have proven examples to illustrate it. Just like everywhere else, French reporters are constantly looking for context and insights for their stories. Newsjacking has allowed PR to become a crucial source of information

Case studies work.

There is no better illustration of your business than explaining a specific project done for a specific client. Client testimonials detailing how your company has helped them resolve a tough challenge and provided a solution are so much more credible and powerful than just claiming you are the best. The French media is always on the lookout for interesting testimonials based on facts and figures.

Opinion pieces and byline articles work.

The French media, especially online, has offered increasing space to external contributors over the recent years. This does not mean it is easy to get a byline article published, especially in the national or business online ideas pages. You will maximise your chances if you discuss hot news or trending topics, stick to a content length of 3,500-5,000 characters, and refrain from quoting the name of your company or products in your text.

So what’s really different about doing PR in France?

We love good food.

Just like good business, building relationships with the press is best done over breakfasts or lunches. Even tough interviews are sweeter when there is a macaron beside your coffee cup. Never underestimate the importance of food and drinks at events and in meetings.

However, bear in mind that during media interviews, especially in the B2B sector and with the national press, journalists like to hear about facts and proof points. Anecdotes are good, examples including figures and percentages are better. The French media can spot marketing bullsh*t from a kilometer away and it will not wash with them. Do not attend an interview unprepared, thinking a good conversation over a nice wine will do the trick.

We have more free news TV channels than most European countries.

Since the launch of FranceInfo on September 1st 2016, France is currently one of the rare European countries which has four free news TV channels. How is that possible when TV audiences are generally getting lower while Internet audiences are growing? Unfortunately, France has been a major target for terrorist attacks in the recent years and BFM TV, i-Télé or LCI have experienced huge peaks of audience in the aftermath of those dramatic events. For further explanation, read more on the French version of the LEWIS blog.

We take pride in our language.

French is our national language and a big symbol of our culture. Although, we are progressively getting better at English with each new Internet generation, we generally prefer to speak and be spoken to in French. This is especially true for media interviews. Having local spokespeople is key. Even a VP speaking English may have less impact during an interview than a mid-manager who speaks French.

Finally, if you are fluent in French, we invite you to discover our French Blog. It is full of insights, digital PR best practices and tips on how to have a great professional trip in Paris.

Do get in touch