Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Don't Forget What You Learned In PR 101

Sometimes it's the simple things that help ya get the INK.
  • Are you accessing the client CEO's travel schedule - a lot? If you do, that's great...but are you checking on it weekly (every...single...week) to see how you might fit some media appointments into the calendar on an on-going, rolling basis?
  • Are you aware of the Big Things going on around the industry? For example, last month Bill Gates issued one of his decennial memos about the major threats challenging Microsoft's domination. Ten years ago it was the Internet. Now it's Internet Software Services on his mind. So: how are your clients getting ahead of the hype wave that's going to begin cresting, now that Mr. Gates has set the media's agenda (to a degree)? What does your client have to say (that is relevant and compelling, 'natch!) about the Software-As-A-Service trend?
  • Are you making friends? One of our new PR stars has set herself a goal of meeting for drinks or dinner with a reporter... every...single...night. She has a ton of reporters from all over the place linked to her IM account. These folks are her friends, not just names on a pitch list. As a result, her client's last press tour enjoyed extensive coverage, stemming from 50-odd appointments.
  • Are you cultivating the Illusion of Inclusion? Let's face it, reporters are people, and every person I have ever met likes to feel important. So what are you doing to make sure that important reporters feel like they are part of your client's "inner circle?" Do they get to see your press releases before they hit the wires? Do they know that they'll see advance information before their competitors? Do they feel as if they could call you, or your client CEO, at any hour, to get real-time, real-world input for a story?
  • Are you using the right tools & approach? Services like Bacons, etc., are great for finding out that a certain reporter prefers email ("no attachments!") over phone calls. But sometimes you need to dig a little deeper. For example, we have a client who's technology could help revolutionize video games... but frankly, the guys at PC Gamer aren't keen on this angle - they are accustomed to receiving CDs, tsotschkes, etc. in the mail: in their world, "PR" is about getting new stuff to play with more than it's about the evolution of gaming technology. So we won't come calling until we have a rockin' demo that they can plug into their Alienware systems.

Simple stuff. PR 101. But, so often it is the little things that will win the day. The ongoing success of any PR program relies on the right access, the right audience, the right actions. The road to success is paved with good tactics.

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