Recently, I’ve had a few occasions where editors wanted my client’s story, and the red tape took over. Result: no article published.
When your company is gaining recognition because of media exposure, it’s important to remember that the media don’t have to mention you at all. Editors who run your stories are doing you (and your PR firm) a favor by running your article. It’s that simple.
They say, “Jump!” You say, “How high?”
When an editor asks a question pertaining to your press release, you darn well had better be ready to produce an answer within a day or two at the outside. If not, you will aggravate this person-on-whom-you-depend and risk losing the publicity opportunity—or worse, deleting your chances of any exposure from this source in the future.
Don’t let this happen to you!
Years ago, when I had a manufacturing client in Chicago, I pitched the Wall Street Journal a story about their safety program and the dollars it saved in workman’s compensation insurance. The WSJ editor loved the story and asked some specific questions my client was not ready to answer. The editor agreed to wait a week, and when the answers were still “out”, I talked him into giving us another week. My client still could not deliver. Not only was I pulling my hair out by this time—the editor was up to his ears in waiting—and angry. The story was published, true to our press release—but rather than leading with my client’s testimony, the editor highlighted three other companies and relegated my client to a short mention near the end of the article. What could have been the biggest PR coup in my client’s history ended up a mere mention.
Line up your ducks before pitching your story.
In the case mentioned, it would have been better if my client had just refused the information in the first place. That Chicago bureau Wall Street Journal reporter won’t forget who made him wait two weeks for nothing. If you are working with the media, know before the pitch how transparent your company is willing to be—with financials, operational models, etc. If you don’t have an answer, be willing to jump through hoops to deliver promptly. Making editors happy, and giving them what they need to easily run your story, is a win-win.