Last October, I made a pitch to Mort Meyerson, former President of EDS and Perot Sytems, and to Ben Trowbridge, President and co-founder of Alsbridge, an outsourcing consulting firm.
The goal, of course, was to win their business, which I did.
In the pitch, I was going through sample media coverage we had generated for thought leaders that we'd worked and I showed them an example of how we worked with IP Communications innovator, Jeff Pulver.
I politely explained to Mort that while it was certainly an impressive feat to get Jeff profiled in The Wall Street Journal, the reality was that our team spent almost one year working with several Journal reporters in the concept and development of what became a great story and great exposure for Jeff.
I also demonstrated how I've personally been quoted in the Journal as a source for my other blog, 3Screens.
Multiple Approaches and Multiple Pitches...
The fact of the matter is that we tried several approaches, with multiple pitches for Alsbridge and its leader, Ben Trowbridge.
I knew there was something to the Alsbridge story in their approach with re-inventing the whole way outsourcing was being done, coupled with the interesting personalities of Mort and Ben. Mort is a hugely successful businessperson who's morphed into other businesses and does some pretty interesting philanthropic work through his Morton H. Meyerson Family Tzedakah Fund. Ben is a former Marine and a straight-shooting, very exacting businessperson who keenly developed a sense for what made for good press.
Being persistent and being a regular Journal reader, I finally tracked down one of the reporters, Jim Carlton, who happened to be doing a story on EDS and its Agility Alliance program.
I Didn't Pitch Our Client; I Offered to Help the Reporter Who Needed An Expert Source For A Related Story.
Rather than pitching Alsbridge, I offered Ben as possible source for insight and comments to the story. Ben knew EDS well, having been a former executive at the company and working with EDS as an outsourcing provider to Ben's own clients.
Three months into the dialog of going back and forth with Jim, he finally interviewed Ben.
Even While on Vacation, I Still Worked the Story.
I happened to be in Moscow on vacation with my family when Jim reached out to me and I coordinated the interview.
With the help of a few time zones, support from Alsbridge's VP, Jeff Anderson, and my handy BlackBerry, it all fell into place.
Yes seven months into the pitch, and finally the coverage. See the story below. Ben's quote is on page 3 / paragraph 7.
This week, I am making a daily entry confessing to the realities of what we do in serving our clients and pitching new business.
Got any confessions of your own? Send them along to me at: alan@weinkrantz dot com.
Confession #5 for Friday, April 6 "We work for the media, the bloggers, and analysts and not for you."
1. OK....this one is sure to get me into big trouble. Yes, we work for the media, the bloggers and industry analysts who could and should cover your company.
2. Our job is to be of help and service to this community so they can produce compellig and interesting content about compelling, interesting, and hopefully disruptive companies like yours.
We don't shove our clients down their throat and push them to write.
We pitch good ideas with substance, trends, research, end user stories, real customers, and real data that supports what our clients are doing and why they matter.
4. Our job is to help this community do their job, even when it means that it does not directly result in getting coverage.
5. Sometimes, we recommend briefings, just to bring a journalist up to speed in an industry segement. Maybe they will use the information; maybe they won't. It's really ok. In almost 25 years of doing this PR thing, I have learned that working for the media, the analysts and the bloggers, winds up working for our clients.
Our client, Alsbridge,
has announced that its internal research shows India has more growth potential
than just the usual top picks – Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai.
InformationWeek's Paul McDougal breaks the story in his outsourcing blog.
The cities that have the most potential to be the next big
outsourcing hotspots for major corporations worldwide include:
Ahmedabad, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mangalore, Nagpur, Pune,
Thiruvananthapuram and Visakhapatnam.
These cities were chosen based on several factors including
population, accessibility, education of the workforce and existing
companies who have businesses in these cities. (A more detailed report
on each city, along with commentary including accessibility,
educational institutions and existing outsourcing companies may be
Working with the journalist, developing the story, making sure the content is fresh and exclusive to the publication- and most of all- ensuring targeted information for a specific readership are all factors to keep in mind.
Also, because of the volume of pitches and story proposals journalists receive you should allow a 2 - 3 month turn around in making the initial outreach, writing, editing, follow up and general backlog to seeing your contributed story appear.
Alan Weinkrantz of San Antonio, a customer since May, says
compared with cable the programming guide is easier, channels change
faster, and he can record four programs at once. Most cable systems
allow two. "Have I had some jitter and granulation? Absolutely," says
Weinkrantz. "I have had the same thing in cable. Tony Soprano froze up
on me while he was about to kill someone."
To learn more, see my blog covering AT&T's 3 Screen strategy at 3Screens.net
Many print and online media outlets provide guidelines of how to best get coverage in their publications. While they are bombarded with media pitches, sometimes just following their suggested guidelines can really help.
Here is an example from VON Magazine's VON Focus eLetter, which is sent to over 62,000 subscribers.
Check the media you are pitching to see if they have similar guidelines. It really makes your life (and the media your are pitching) much easier.
Debbie Weil Debbie Weil, aka the MonaLisaOfBlogging.com, is a corporate blogging and online communications consultant and the author of the forthcoming "The Corporate Blogging Book: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know to Get It Right" for Penguin Portfolio (2006).