This post was inspired by a friend of mine who asked me if I could help him build a list of journalists he could reach out to and pitch a story idea to. I politely explained to him that just making a list isn't going to cut it any more than just having a few great contacts would work with and pitch.
You have to think of your potential "list" of bloggers, analysts and journalists as a supply chain. As with the process of building anything - be it a product, a service or just the germ of an idea, you need to have your supply chain in line.
I will be writing further on this concept later in the month.
I am now finding myself doing the same. I did not "get it" until I realized that in my small world that I travel in, its easier to communicate with very specific people I want to reach if I do so via FaceBook than through traditional email.
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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.
Working with industry analysts is one of the more complicated tasks of product marketing and public communications. It is also one of the most elemental requirements for refining and focusing your product and company positioning and keeping the strategic side of your business moving forward and in synch with industry trends.
I've just come back from a major trade show where we had several industry analyst briefings. Here's a white paper you can download which outlines working with this important public in your communications outreach.
Yes I blog here. It's mostly about doing PR and what we do for our tech clients in the U.S. and Israel.
But I have another blog that is morphing into a specialized media property. SAtechBlog is getting national and international readershp and media coverage.
I am finding readers of my other blog, who are part of the Telecom industry seeking coverage on my blog, advise and my insight on being an early adapter to IPTV and any inside information I may have on AT&T because I live here in San Antonio. (please note: I don't have any inside information on AT&T-- and if I did, I would not publish it because it would go against breaching agreements of confidentiality.)
With this new role in evolving into a part-time journalist, it's really helping me be better at being a PR professional. From the vantage point of being on both sides of the fence, here is what I am finding:
1. As Shel says, "markets are conversations." So are PR and Media relationships. Yes, we need the standard press documents, but moreso for fact checking and accuracy.
What I am finding is that in the companies that are pitching coverage on my other blog, I rarely get press docs. What I get are conversations and discussions about vision and where the world is going in IPTV and disruptive broadcasting.
2. I can't read through your entire press kit.
It's not that I don't have the time. It's just that it's sometimes easier to speak to a company spokesperon and get the basic info I need- in English and in verbal form. Yes, you need a press kit- especially if you are a publicly traded company. Make your press kit easy to find- online and easy to read and download.
3. I would rather do my research and in turn my blogging / reporting based on a series of verbal conversations. If I need fact, I will read your fact sheet. If I need to really understand your market position and vision statement, I will review your web site.
4. I respect and honor the idea of an embargo. If you will work with me in advance of your announcement, I'll do a better job, rather than having to rush through an announcement just to stay current and "live." If I breach the confidentiality agreement, you never have to work with me again.
5. My blog does not compete with mainstream telecom trade or technical journalists. I am a blogger, speaking in simple English looking at life from the perspective of an end user. Think Walt Mossberg. Think Howard Stern (without the profanity). Think Martha Stewart (without jail time.)
Playing the role of part-time journalist is really helping appreciate and undestand the very people we reach out to on behalf of our clients. It's given me a renewed appreciation for the time and effort it takes to buy into a story, do the research, write the story and file it on a timely basis.
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).