Good Articles Come to Those Who Wait

waitingWhen I build my media lists, I always include monthly and industry magazines that are published around the clients area. Although at times it is much harder to get the attention of these highly targeted publications, I view the additional time to tailor a pitch worth it, for three reasons:

1. It allows the client to see how his/her product or service can be translated to ‘fit’ in front of different audiences (readership base) – giving them better appreciation for PR and messaging approach.

2. These publications often have a longer shelf life as well as ‘shareabilty’ due to their quality, targeted demographic and visual appeal – therefore more chances for client to be seen.

3. Because of longer lead times and editorial schedules, it’s always fun to call a client after you have finished up a contract to let them know that they have yet another interview/article.

This happened most recently for a client of mine who was approached by a widely read lifestyle publication out of Georgian Bay area, four months after her initial launch took place.

Why PR people like this:

  • Allowed me to deliver value to the client MONTHS after our partnership.
  • Keeps my services on the radar for further engagement
  • Great reminder for client to give a referal 😉
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Media zombies and PR BBQ sauce

zombies

So picture the media as a pack of zombies. They are on a mission and are laser focused on one story – Braaaaiiinnnsss.

You are an innocent bystander who hasn’t gotten bitten yet, but you’d love to be on their radar and experience the chase. You do have certain elements of what they are looking for; human flesh, interesting scent – but you lack that enticing …. ‘clincher’ that will get them chasing you down an alley.

Braaaiiinnnsss!

Then you think, BBQ sauce! Kinda looks like blood (gross, but stay with me). So you douse a little over your head and make your way to the street.

This entices the zombies. Braaaaiiinnnnss? and they start sniffing your way. Some are curious and come closer to take a look. Excellent!!

But soon, they discover that what you are putting forward is only LOOSELY what they need and now you have wasted their time in getting….. what?

Braaaiiinnnsss!!!

Well, they could let you go on your merry way (unlikely) or they could be so perturbed by your deception that they decide to tear you limb from limb anyway and soon forget about you on the side of the road. Not the experience you were hoping for at all! the end.

So… what have we learned here?

It is rare in the PR world to have your client’s story and mission happen to brush shoulders with one of the hottest scandals-of-the-hour to hit the Canadian (and Global) circuit.

So it could be tempting to align oneself with the news story of the day even though the mission and message doesn’t exaaaactly match up. But when the media come sniffing only to discover that you have misrepresented yourself or wasted their time by trapping them into a sales pitch – they can react one of two ways:

1. Put your name on a list called ‘opportunistic sales hounds, don’t call back, ever’

2. Decide that they are so desperate for a link to the real story that they push you around in a media interview and back you into a spot that you or your public relations team can have a hard time getting you out of.

THE LESSON: Please don’t use BBQ sauce to attract a zombie – it will end badly.

*no actual clients were harmed in the creation of this story.

Tweet-a-Coffee – PR in the customers hands

giving

I love this. Starbuck’s tweet-a-coffee/#!  I love it for so many reasons….first and foremost because it’s a great example of giving fuzz factor to the cold, hard internet AND because it bridges two worlds beautifully – PR and promotion.

I will admit that I am not a Starbucks groupie, and while I enjoy their brand, if I had my choice, I would probably select another cup a ‘joe first. However…

I love that they are trying this (in beta), and have found a way to “be” more giving and thoughtful “by way of” their customers. The friend gets the coffee, customer gets the thanks, but THEY get the residual perception and glory.

For a PR person, you can’t say more about ‘living a brand’ than using a coffee shop (a stand alone location) as the means of evoking; involuntary response, (surprise as they open the tweet), emotion (thank you!) and action (walking into shop to obtain gift and hopefully purchase more). It is the epitome of ‘giveaways’ AND they don’t have to give anything away. It’s more than marketing and promotion – this is Emotion in the palm of your customer’s hand…. am I being over zealous? …perhaps.

What does this mean for me as the PR person? It clearly puts social media strategy into a new light and gets PR people thinking outside of the 140 character box.

PR is about eliciting a response which inspires action – in the past we’ve relied on communications, media, events, media interviews – even the odd PR stunt in downtown rush hour. But let’s always be challenging ourselves on how we can make change and change perception using these ‘ego-centric’ and often self-satisfying social channels.

I love the possibilities – I will work to stretch beyond the walls of social media for my own clients also. Bottoms up!

Can you tell I love this sT@**?