Jon Arnold is a long-time independent industry analyst, and his boutique analyst firm, J Arnold & Associates, focuses on communications and unified communications.
Mr. Arnold, who has his own newsletter and Future of Work podcast called “Watch this Space,” writes for and is quoted by the likes of No Jitter and is speaking at Enterprise Connect on March 21.
Even though his primary role is as an analyst, the other day he inadvertently offered me some media relations tips.
First Mr. Arnold complained that often PR people find him on a media list and pitch him without doing their homework. “They just send the same pitch to the full list,” says Mr. Arnold, “assuming they’re all journalists writing news stories.” While he does write regularly about the industry, they are thought leadership analyses rather than journalistic reporting on news of the day.
“Since most PR people won’t ever get to my website to review my work, this important distinction will never be understood, leading only to wasted time at both ends. If instead, they did their homework, they would know better.” The end result is usually a curt reply from Jon Arnold, followed by an I-should-have-known-better apology from the agency.
I did comment to him that the line has blurred between analyst and journalist. It is confusing, even to seasoned folks.
He said he can tell when they have no idea that he’s an analyst which frustrates him.
Another thought he added had to do with timeliness. He said journalists quote him in stories because he is able to get back to them by 5 pm the same day. Bingo. He said the words that I have heard over and over. Journalists often need comments the same day. And he obviously knows how to help journalists within their tight deadlines. He’s quoted widely on important industry news like mergers and acquisitions.
Therefore, to be a super media relations professional, try to have both the reporter and executive on speed dial.
How do you know what they might ask? Ask yourself, what is making headlines? Right now, I expect journalists to ask, do you have employees, customers, or suppliers in Russia or Ukraine? What’s your pandemic or endemic work policy? Also, if you are in certain fields, prepare your answers before you are asked or asked again. Like if you are in fintech, be able to answer questions about the crypto market.
If you are in the collaboration space, prepare an answer so you are ready when asked by a journalist about conducting business in the metaverse.
Independent versus Large Analyst Firms
During the conversation Mr. Arnold told me the key differences between large and boutique analyst firms. Formerly with Frost & Sullivan, he said the big firms will offer large reports, rankings and awards.
As an independent analyst, Jon Arnold does not do awards. He is paid by vendors to speak at events and write white papers and trend reports. Sometimes he is asked to rewrite a report that an engineer wrote, so it is palatable to key constituents. Topics might relate to things like hybrid work, artificial intelligence-enabled technologies, doing business in the metaverse or Web 3.0, unified communications and contact centers. I noticed Mr. Arnold was quoted in stories about the failed Zoom Five9 acquisition.
In summary, do your homework on a writer before you pitch and figure out a way to get them a response the same day. Also, if you are pitching an analyst be careful what you say when you reach out, if at all. [Photo credit: Jon Arnold]
Michelle McIntyre is a freelance public relations professional and future of work microinfluencer. Follow her on Twitter @fromMichelle. Jon Arnold’s Twitter profile is @arnoldjon. He’s also a future of work influencer. Chris Fine co-hosts the Watch this Space podcast with Jon Arnold.