Developing relationships takes time, and those of you who have worked in companies know that often there is precious little of it to plan as you'd like.
As a blogger, I never sit there and wonder when I'm going to get the next press release to find stories ideas.
And admittedly I tend to be picky, looking to write not just original content -- I still link out a lot in my posts -- I also work hard to be relevant to my readers.
Story gets written without you in it
When you send a press release, you probably looked to see what content the person you're pitching has written about before. Yet a beat is not was it used to be anymore. Media companies hire freelancers to cover many industries today.
Plus, rarely writers and editors rest on their laurels. In fact, upon closer inspection, you will probably find that more often than not, a great feature story was written by someone who had never written about that topic before.
How could that be? I know, you're as disappointed as I've been about this. A couple of times my CEO has called me on the carpet for missing a placement in a feature story about IT... written by someone who last week wrote about commercial real estate or car dealerships.
Don't panic. A classically-trained PR pro would research the writer, if appropriate reach out to her with additional insights -- make them good -- about her story and keep doing great work.
A new media maven does something else -- record a video with your subject matter expert talking about the article and what they'd add, then post it to your company blog with appropriate tags and links.
Do something worthy of writing
Stories catch my eye on their own merits. This past week I published about the Mayo Clinic starting a center for social media because I saw it on their blog and after a search, I only found a Q&A in the WSJ blog, and thought the story could use some context, and I had personal experience to offer to it.
A string of posts by others followed in the days that followed. I don't know if they were the result of blogger and media outreach or worked in the same way my pick up did. I'm thinking that the initiative is the reason for the pick up, not the amazing pitching skills. What do you think?
So doing something worthy of a post is the reason why you get the posts in many instances. The other part of that is talking about it in your own blog. I would wager reporters operate along similar lines.
A new media maven takes the coverage and creates a hub on the company blog to display and tag it. Bookmarking the stories with commentary on Delicious also works as a nice media room.
Make it differentNot everyone has sexy news to share every week, do they? Most of the time, it's just your standard press release vetted through several layers of approvals until everyone is comfortable -- and often until it says little or nothing of value to anyone because it's trying to say too much for everyone.
Still, if your business is in business, it does serve a need in the marketplace. Or maybe your marketing group is so good that it creates that needs. Good for you, you have a starting point. Take a stand in your release, and in your pitch. Tell me what problem your "widget/service" solves, and how it does it differently.
It's amazing how many releases could use this simple make over. Write it from the standpoint of why a specific audience would care.
A new media maven knows that the lines between marketing and PR are blurring, and knows how to think differentiation and POV while maintaining news integrity.
Three simple tips: 1) don't panic, or get mad, get back with them; 2) do more to be interesting, work on the product, initiative, etc. and 3) communicate what makes you different.
From your experience, what is helpful to educate your boss or general manager on the merits of creating valuable communications that address the needs of a new media world?