" PR People Stop Wasting My Time"

Or How To Get Your Message Heard


Here at BizNet Online Magazine we hear from lots of PR (Press Relations) Folks. All of them are just trying to do their job (getting the word out on their client). But some of these folks are not very good at getting us to listen, so this is an article just for them (or any one looking to learn how to get the word out on their company in a way that works).

First and foremost, you PR folks need to remember that you are really just another form of advertising. You job as a living, breathing ad, is to locate and contact writers that can get the word out on your clients "stuff". No, this article is not going to get into the how's of locating us writers, but how to get us to read your press releases, take your call, listen to you, and then write about your client.

So, remembering the fact that you are an ad... What is the most basic rule of advertising?... Getting a person's attention and interest... all in just a few seconds.

The more time it takes to get me to understand what your company does, and why I should care, the better the chances are that I will stop listening (or reading your press release) and go back to what I was doing before you interrupted my day. Think about it. When was the last time you paid attention to anything that was not of interest to you?

So, to get a person's attention, start off with the most important information you can! Why they should care about your client. No, it is not the name of the company, their standing in their industry or the company's name. It is what they do and How It Relates To The Subjects I Write On. In other words if, I only write about cars, don't contact me about a product made for Sailboats. I don't care about Sailboats. If I did I would write about them.

Talking about contacting, be smart. Find out how the person or company you are contacting likes to be contacted. Is it by Mail, Fax, Phone, E-Mail, or???? At this time I have three big trade shows coming up in the next four weeks in two states. So the PR Folks are coming at me like crazy. If all of them called me on the phone I would never get any work done. If all of them faxed me my fax would blow up. If they sent mail to me I would read it. If they E-Mailed me I would read it, AND, if interested respond right then and there. Get the idea? Some ways of contacting a writer are better than others.

Let's look at them from a BizNet point of view:

Faxing

Bad Idea. It jams up our fax. When a fax comes in someone has to pull it from the fax, read it to see who gets it, then put on that persons desk for them to read. It puts a greater burden on the magazine. Let me tell you, a great way to burn out a fax machine is to let it receive Press Releases 24 hours a day. It eats a lot of paper, toner, and time to tend to it. If it's your fax that smokes the machine, do you think it will make us happy?

Phone Calls

Not as bad as by fax. If I am in, and have time, great; but, you're trusting me to make notes (and make them right). If I'm not in please do not leave "blank messages" on my Voice Mail. Waiting till it starts to record your message, then hanging up, eats up capacity, and I have to play back all those blank messages.

Getting me on the line and going on and on about your background, your PR firm, and then getting to you client... You lost me. I just want to get off the phone and back to whatever. Please just start off with the hows, and whys. Remember, it is up to you to get my attention. What is it you want me to write about (what does it do?).

Snail Mail

One of the better ways. You can send me as much stuff as you would like to. Photos, diagrams, printouts, anything you want. If I don't want it I can just trash it. But if I do want it I have it all. Including contact information. I can write about it now, file it for later or pass it on to a fellow journalist.

E-Mail

The best way. If you follow the rules.

Rule Number One: Unless I ask you to send it to me, No Attachments. I do not open any attachments from people I do not know (remember a little thing called Viruses?).

Rule Number Two: Format, Format, Format. I do not read E-Mail that is a full page long, sent as one line. Here is a hint. Just send the E-Mail to yourself first. How does it look?

Rule Number Three: Include links to your web site if you have one. Make sure the link works (see above).

Rule Number Four: Don't forget your contact information. Like phone number and extension.

Rule Number Five: Download time. Keep it as short as you can. Remember no attachments. No one likes waiting 1/2 hour for E-Mail to download. Attachments just kill download time.

So, now you have an idea on how best to get an editor's attention from an inside point of view. My fax machine is looking forward to catching a break.




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Last modified: November 08, 2002