Wednesday, February 22, 2006

MediaSurvey Reaction: It's About Sell-Through

After posting on MediaSurvey's interesting "Tech Media Continuum" graphic last week, I received a thoughtful response from managing editor, Christy Andrade:
Checking in, just saw your blog post from (last) Wednesday on Sam’s continuum piece and wanted to chime in with regard to the point about infotainment. We’ve been presenting on this theme quite a bit in the last few weeks so I think I have it down…

The notion is this – Sell through. That’s what magazine editors are thinking about when they choose cover stories. What story is going to get those highly profitable paper copies off the newsstand? That’s where entertainment comes in. Tension and drama spur the public’s interest – the dark and stormy night...The “what happened to or what’s going to happen to them?” Or better yet, “how do I keep that from happening to me?” angles.

So when counseling clients, the advice is – bear that in mind and don’t expect your PR pro’s to be able to get a book report written about your company.

The magazine buying public would rather read about how you almost didn’t make it, or a juicy personal profile, or how they can avoid speed-bumps themselves based on your experience. Pitches that include those elements get noticed. The “we’re good guys, making lotsa-dough, invest in us” pitches are a dime a dozen. This is the consistent story from the folks Sam interviews weekly.

And – we know the PR pros we talk to would love nothing more than to have smarter clients willing to give a little more skin to get a cover, because you’re right, it’s about juice. No argument there. Getting there is very important and a huge win (although there is a lot to be said about the positive and negative tones of cover stories, but that’s another conversation).

That’s one of our next projects, finding techniques and data points you can use to pull the clients into the cover story reality tent with confidence, and make your jobs easier.
Thanks for the clarification, Christy. I agree on all fronts.

I'll also selfishly use this opportunity to remind folks that, just as publishers need to tell stories that sell magazines, "sell through" is what all of PR should be about. The awareness we help to generate should be focused, primarily, on outlets that will help positively impact the client's bottom line.

(More on the bottom-line measurements front - MUCH more, actually, in the weeks ahead.)


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