Diary of a PR Amateur

A Media Tour

June 24, 2010
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I got a call from John today, asking me if our CEO would be open to a media/analyst tour in the next month or so.

But I’m no dummy. I know the reason he asked about that. He just wants to have a nice few days in San Francisco. So I told him that it sounded like a great idea, and that he should get moving on booking it ASAP.

Meanwhile, I’m going to find out when our CEO is free to travel to the West Coast, and I’m going to make it clear that it is I, and not John, who will be heading out there for the tour.

But I’m not going to tell this to John yet. What I told him on the call was that we’d do the media/analyst tour, but only if he booked at least seven meetings/interviews. And I told him that at least three of them have to be top-tier, with outlets like Red Herring, wire services and the Wall Street Journal.

I want him working really hard to earn “his trip” to San Francisco…

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How It Is Done

June 1, 2010
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Well, we are about a week into the relationship with the new agency and I’m already getting a little sick of their excuses.

We met today for a status update and I asked them why there hadn’t been any articles about us yet.

Their predictable response was that they had been in discussions with several top reporters and editors, but that it was too soon to expect articles, or even interviews.

“Oh yeah,” I said. “Give me the name of one of the reporters you are targeting.”

“(name), at (magazine),” said John, wearing a fine suit, without a tie.

“Okay, what’s his phone number?” I asked.

“I can get that for you,” said Dan, whose ears were particularly large-looking today.

“If you can’t tell me their phone numbers without even looking at a list, it means you are not calling them often enough,” I suggested.

“His number is (xxx)xxx-oooo,” said Dan, looking it his media list.

So I dialed the number and had a conversation with the reporter, giving him a pitch about my company and suggesting that maybe he should speak with our CEO about the company’s latest developments.

He asked me again for the name of my company, which I told him, and then, of course, he gave me the line I have learned to expect from reporters, based on my almost six years of experience.

“Send me some background on your company and I’ll take a look.”

“Listen (reporter’s name), I know you want to approach every company the same way, but we are different, and trust me when I say that it’s not everyday that you run into a company with unique, revolutionary technology like (my company)’s. So what do you say we skip the formality of sending you info, and we set up a briefing with our CEO for next week?”

I looked at the agency team and winked, feeling like perhaps I just helped not only my company, but also the agency team learn a very important lesson about PR.

“What? Oh, okay. I’ll send something … Yes, I have your email address. Thanks.”

Most of the agency guys were so impressed that they had nice smiles on their faces. I asked Dan to send background information on (my company) to the reporter.

The only one not smiling was John. I wonder why. Perhaps we should have a one-on-one conversation later in the week.


Of Blitzes and Misdirection Plays

March 23, 2010
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Well, we sent out a record four releases in less than a week. And I don’t want to pat myself on the back or anything, but the reactions from the media with whom I spoke yesterday were amazing. One example:

Joe: I sent you a release today about (product)

Reporter: Joe, you just called me an hour ago about a different release, and you called me last Friday about another one. And none of them are really that interesting. But yes, I did see the release about (product).

Joe: Great. As you can see, we are a company on the move. Lots going on here.

Reporter: I don’t understand you guys. You go like four months without announcing anything, and then three releases in four days. What’s your deal?

Joe: Just you wait. We’ve got another one going out at 5 p.m.!

Reporter: Uh-huh. Well, Joe, gotta go. Bye.

You see! It’s working! They all know who we are now! Our brand awareness has increased dramatically among the press this week and it’s all because of my strategy.

Now, my follow-up idea is to go another few months before sending out another announcement. It’ll be great. They’re going to wonder, “What happened to (my company)? They were making so much noise back in March.”

And then, just as they think we are out of the game again, I’m going to blitz them again in late June. It’ll be amazing.

I’ll tell you, at first I wasn’t so happy when my company decided not to hire a PR firm. But now, since I’ve gotten more involved … I love it.

By the way, you are welcome to try this strategy, too, and you don’t even have to give me credit.


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