Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Don't break a date

Harking back to earlier musings about treating the media as if they were your biggest sales prospect, I wanted to relay a quick client anecdote. A case study in how to NOT do PR.

First let it be said: getting a reporter to meet with you, the client, is not easy. The reporters wear nose-plugs to prevent them from breathing in the hypnotic perfume of all the brilliant, revolutionary stories tossed their way. At the PR firm, crazy amounts of our time and energy are spent recalibrating the hypnotic mix of story essentials, in a valiant quest to set up a meeting with a crusty reporter.

So when we get a meeting with the WSJ, please - DON'T CANCEL.

I am ordinarily the first to say that "PR should not drive your business." But if it's a business reporter on-the-line, then yeah, PR can drive your business. One great hit in the WSJ or BusinessWeek could open up a world of new prospects and adventure.

If you cancel the appointment, you lose credibility with that reporter. So does your firm. But you knew that. So here's a secret: you also lose a bit of credibility with your Agency team. By discounting their efforts, you make it clear that even their biggest coups mean little to you, so, you take some of the motivation out of their campaigns.

Your PR team is carrying the banner of your reputation into the media battleground. To inspire PR victory, you might want to inspire your standard-bearers.

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