Dear Aunty B,
We have a fantastic company with terrific software, but although we send out lots of media releases, we never get any attention.
Yet we have such a great story to tell. And I follow all the advice about sending out releases, following up etc. Why aren’t we getting any traction?
You and two million other business owners, I am afraid.
Look, I welcome your query Joy, because it gives me the opportunity to rant. The advice that many people will give you about dealing with reporters is usually wrong!
For instance, you are often advised by the well-meaning to start up a conversation with a journalist. You are advised to ask them what sort of stories they are interested in and whether they are the right reporter to speak to about your type of company.
Terrible advice. That is enough to cause a reporter with a pressing deadline to be struck down with apoplectic rage. You should know what they are interested in and you should know if they are the right reporter to approach. Don’t waste their time if you don’t.
You are also advised to start the conversation with an opener such as: “Am I calling at a good time?”
Joy, there is no good time in a reporter’s life for the simple fact that there is NO TIME in a reporter’s life. You have them on the phone; go for it as fast as possible. Reporters have very short attention spans so you have about three seconds… tops… to hook their attention.
You are also advised to mention past stories that reporters have written, and how great they are.
Don’t bother. Doesn’t work. Reporters, while having fragile egos, are usually immune to flattery (unless it is from the source of a pay rise).
Let’s get to the hub of the matter. The story you are telling, while fascinating to you, is probably boring.
Study those in your industry who are getting the press. What are they doing? Are they commenting on industry changes? Are they doing polls? Do they have a ready comment on changing regulation?
Can you suggest a new angle and offer to comment? Do you let the journalist know that you are talking to them first, and that you are not tarting the story around all the media?
And do you call the reporter back the second they ring? Do your staff know to contact you on the bat line when a journalist rings?
Joy, the bottom line is that it is not hard to get press if you have a good story to tell – and you go about it the right way.
Your Aunty B.
Sally Romano from Publicity Queen writes: The other avenue that this “superbly fantastic” software company needs to embrace is the new media frontier in which SmartCompany is already a part – the glorious internet! Printed media information is no longer restricted to hard copy format.
Traditional media is now only one of four channels that we use to generate publicity for clients.
Companies need to start embracing the internet and the myriad of ways in which they can generate publicity. And best of all, the internet is an environment in which people are in information-absorption-mode, and quite often, purchase-ready.
Alas, I could go on for hours…