3 Tips on Pitching Podcasts for the Second Half of 2022

During the pandemic, podcasting experienced stunning growth, and podcast audiences diversified. According to Business of Apps, more Americans listen to podcasts than have Netflix accounts. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that SiriusXM bought Conan O’Brien’s podcast network for an estimated $150 Million.

Every major media outlet seems to have them; some like Adweek are launching podcast networks; and many companies wants their executives on as guests.

Here are some tips on helping podcast producers find guests

  1. Consider a podcast sponsorships budget. Think six months ahead with podcasts. Ask your client or CEO if they want to set aside some budget to sponsor a podcast or a few of them. CXChronicles is a top 10 customer experience podcast. The last time I spoke with the host, he said that he required a quality, timely guest and a few hundred dollars to promote it.
  2. Listen to at least 10 minutes of a podcast before reaching out to the host. It’s way easier to place a client on a show after you listened to it. You can hear the person’s tone and personality: Would it click or clash with your spokesperson’s? Better yet, listen to a couple of full episodes. Let it play in the background while you work.
  3. Know which ones don’t interview guests. Be careful about pitching using an expert’s biography when the podcast is two journalists bantering about news and trends. One example is Mike Malone and Scott Budman’s The Silicon Insider podcast. I know Malone from a volunteer gig. It’s an awesome podcast by the way. It focuses on what’s super timely at that moment.

As an aside, it’s wise to always read or listen to a media outlet before you get in touch with its editor.

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Michelle McIntyre is a public relations consultant, IBM vet, and member of the PRSA Silicon Valley chapter. Her advice on Quora has garnered 1.2 million views. Follow her on Twitter @FromMichelle [“Mic” photo credit: Canva]

7 Steps to Help You Get to Know Business Press in a Post Pandemic World

I help a variety of business journalists with their stories on a regular basis: I enjoy seeing these people at events, which are now mostly online, chatting with them daily at Twitter, and reading the interesting things that they write.

I subscribe to a lot of daily newsletters, such as Morning Brew, and check the Twitter feed often. Reporters are often smart and funny, so I enjoy my job.

Think you know how to do media relations? If you’ve been a publicist for more than five years like me, it’s important to refresh the way that you do things in this post pandemic world. Tip: We are now in an epidemic.

The PR profession has changed quite a bit since the pandemic hit: It’s five times harder to develop relationships now because there are very few in person meetings and conferences. Previously you’d run into a reporter a conference or party, or you’d hold a mixer, like a wine tasting, with journalists. That rarely happens anymore in the technology business world.

Here are seven things to do to develop better relationships with business press in modern times:

  1. Make the note short. I was advised in a media relations refresher class at Stanford Continuing Studies to make emailed pitches no longer than 250 words. The instructor a former San Francisco Chronicle reporter, was very good. This tip works.
  2. Personalize the pitch. Make it friendly to their time zone, location and topics they seem to really like covering. Consider a journalist as your client, not your client as your client. Read what they tweeted in the past hour. If you pretend that a journalist is paying you, you’ll treat them with more respect and in turn get better results.
  3. Write a compelling subject line. But don’t make it click bait. People don’t like being tricked. An example is, “The shocking news about Prince William” when it is about how he likes Nutella on his bread instead of the more appropriate and healthier avocado, not true probably, but I’m trying to make a point. Your mind jumped to, “The prince is having an affair.” Treat journalists with respect. They are people. Treat them the way you want to be treated.
  4. Always read a journalist’s Tweet or recent story first. Looking up their stories helps because sometimes you find out that they haven’t written in a couple of years and took a corporate job. Then don’t waste the outreach time, unless you want to network with a peer.
  5. Be brave but not annoying. A follow up by text or LinkedIn direct message might be needed. If you have hard news that you know is major, but the reporter hasn’t opened the email note yet, figure out a polite but direct way to get their attention.
  6. Be sensitive to COVID concerns when setting up meetings. Don’t push an in-person coffee meeting on someone who is more at risk for COVID. “Read the room” as the saying goes. I set up an in-person meeting with a reporter who tweeted, “I would like to meet c-suite executives in person” recently. Note that an online tip has less of a chance of getting canceled. A reporter or executive with breakthrough COVID might still attend the meeting.
  7. Don’t overpitch your favorite journalists. I need to keep reminding myself of this. I’ve heard two editors say that they like hearing from certain PR people no more than four times per year.  This one is hard to follow if you serve a large number of clients. I typically serve between two and five PR clients at any given time.

On a final note, use these tips for trade reporters as well. Trade reporters need to be treated with respect as well. Don’t save the “weak pitch” for the trades. Give them strong spokespersons and relevant news as well. Trade press cover business topics as well.  ###

Michelle McIntyre is a Silicon Valley-based PR consultant who helps startups and their VCs get valuable attention. Prior to that she was the West Coast PR manager for IBM. @fromMichelle on Twitter

Want Press Coverage? Do Your Homework

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]

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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.

3 Reasons Journalists Don’t Respond to Your Pitch

As a seasoned public relations professional, I’ve shared many story ideas and spokespersons’ bios with many journalists. I’ve successfully convinced journalists to cover something, when it made sense. I’ve learned a few things along the way.

Note that a PR person’s goal is a response. We know it’s ultimately results but a response can start to build a relationship which can lead to a story later.  Note that there are three response levels. Level one is the auto response that says something like, “I’m back in the office Thursday,” or “Thanks for your note. If you want to give us a guest post, send back something that’s 300 words, punchy and original with a 100-word bio.”

Level two is personal like, “Sounds good. Get back to me in a month.” Note that reporters often receive 75 -400 emails per day so they may not have time for any response. Level three response is something that creates or starts an editorial opportunity. This might mean answering a few questions or setting up an interview either by phone, video chat, in person or via email.

Digging deeper into this topic, here are a few reasons you may not get any response:

  1. It’s not timely. The journalist is devoted to only covering top world news event and your pitch does not relate to it. Joseph Menn just joined the Washington Post to cover digital threats. He has graciously accepted quality pitches and agreed to meet interesting smart spokespersons over the years but he typically only cares about the news making top headlines. I just checked his last several stories and they were on the Russia-Ukraine conflict cybersecurity.  What you can do about it: Don’t pitch that reporter unless what you have fits what they are covering at that time. According to Meltwater, 94% of PR pros agree that 1:1 email is the best way to pitch journalists. This includes easy file sharing, a personal introduction, and quality communication tracking. My interpretation of this stat is to not use the same pitch for 50 people. One to one means it’s easier to do a better job.
  2. The journalist does not need any more sources. Entrepreneur Editor Jason Feifer produced a podcast that included a logical tip. He says he does not need PR suggestions as to whom to interview or what to write. He has his own sources. He elaborated quite a bit on this. On the other hand, it seems to me that if you have some sort of “aha” story or unique character that you truly love for Entrepreneur, then he’s worth a shot once in a while. I appreciated his tip that if someone is a long shot, why bother them? He says when he responds, “No thanks,” many PR people say back, “I knew it was a poor fit but I had to try anyway, right?” Feifer’s attitude is that, no, you didn’t have to try. If it’s not a great fit, don’t do it.  What to do about it: Pitch someone else. Move on, unless you are 100 percent sure it’s a perfect fit. By the way, I think he’s being kind of grumpy when he says, “I don’t need anything from PR people.” He likely actually does.
  3. Your pitch is not tailored or missing an “aha.” The account leader writes a pitch that the client, a CMO or product manager, loves. It’s finalized and shared with the whole agency team. Each person shares it with 20 reporters. No editors respond except one who asks for an interview non related to that client. Maybe there’s an opportunity with another client because you have a good relationship with that editor and they remembered something you pitched them weeks prior. The problem is that the perfect PR pitch is tailored for one reporter or at least one media outlet only, or maybe at the most two to three. The more tailored it is, the higher the chance you have of it sticking. What to do about it: The solution is to edit the pitch so it’s interesting to each person you contact. It’s fine if you start with the “boring” pitch. Jazz it up some. One fix is to simplify the wording of the pitch so your 12-year-old child could understand it and say, “Aha.” Some pitches that I think are simple and effective are along the lines of: “This executive is a fifth-generation female entrepreneur and her company just went public,” This is the first female Eagle Scout in the entire Bay Area,” and “Their AI technology taught a car to teach itself how to park.”

In summary, be aware that timing is everything. Check what a journalist has been writing very recently before you send that email or message them. You might realize what you were about to pitch doesn’t make any sense. Lastly, if you are a startup founder having trouble getting journalists to respond, hire a PR consultant or agency to help.

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Michelle McIntyre is an award-winning freelance technology public relations consultant in the Silicon Valley and IBM vet. Follow her on Twitter at @FromMichelle. She is also a member of PRSA-Silicon Valley.

7 White Hot Tech Trends to Be Ready for in 2022

The other day, technology business journalists from Forbes, Insider, SiliconAngle and WIRED participated in a panel discussion about what trends will be hot in 2022. The purpose of the event was to help public relations professionals like me stay on top of the latest trends in order to better advise their clients and employers in 2022.

Here are the top seven 2022 trends they predicted:

  1. Participation in Web 3.0 will balloon. This is the next iteration of the world wide web. Web 2.0 was the growth of social media networks and things like blogging. 3.0 includes the Metaverse, NFTs, cryptocurrencies and a host of other cool and nifty things that people seem to talk about and invest in daily. The downside is that some aspects of Web 3.0, like NFTs, are volatile and unregulated. An NFT is a digital asset. Here’s an example. If I were to sell my first tweet, I’d be in the NFT business. Some people have sold their first Tweets for more than $50,000.
  2. The Metaverse frenzy will continue. Metaverse, part of Web 3.0, was made famous by Facebook’s recent name change to Meta. It’s a whole new world including AR or augmented reality and VR or virtual reality, and so on. Imagine working, playing and meeting in an online environment. On Dec. 1, a research analyst named Andrew Prince published a blog story that saying, “Grand View Research posted expects the AR market to grow from $25 billion this year to $36 billion in 2022.” He said that this number was released before Facebook’s branding change, and he believed that the market will easily double by the end of 2022.
  3. XR will become more popular. XR, extended reality, is a term referring to all real-and-virtual combined environments and human-machine interactions generated by computer technology and wearables. According to Wikipedia, the ‘X’ represents a variable for any current or future spatial computing technologies, e.g., it includes representative forms such as augmented reality, mixed reality and virtual reality and the areas interpolated among them. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo was quoted this year (2021) in media stories saying that Apple’s first AR/VR headset could be introduced in 2022, but more advanced products like AR glasses are not expected before 2025.
  4. Digital transformation will continue to accelerate. Digital transformation, according to a HBR story (Nov. 30, 2021), is about achieving better business outcomes; it involves things like robotic process automation, machine learning, and cloud computing. It’s kind of a dated term compared to say “Metaverse”, but many businesses have digital transformation plans, and many PR campaigns still involve discussing some aspect of this.
  5. Fintech trends will continue to change the face of the financial industry. Contactless payments and cashless transitions were mentioned. One of the journalists commented that contactless payments are safer, timely due to the pandemic. Notice the large number of fintech startup investments and acquisitions this year.
  6. The pandemic will continue to dominate our lives. Every aspect of our lives including learning, working and playing seems to be affected by coronavirus and the various variants including Delta and now omicron. Any biotech solution that addresses it in a successful manner will likely be trending in 2022.
  7. Hybrid work models will become ubiquitous. Remote work means working from anywhere except the office. Coffee shops and home are two popular choices. Many people set up workstations in their bedrooms and kitchens this year. I’m pleased to have a large, dedicated home office with a connected bathroom, a sofa for my dog and a stationary bike. And then there is the hybrid model, which might entail working three days in the office and two days not in the office. Hybrid seems to be the big trend at the moment. It’s nice to have a company laptop and be able to work anywhere. Setting up a flexible work environment helps prevent The Great Resignation.

In summary, I think that the main trend that will be discussed in 2022 is completing tasks digitally and in other “realities.” This creates efficiencies and keeps people safe from problems like pandemics. It also causes problems, like investing in Web 3.0 NFTs and cryptocurrencies is still a risky business.

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Michelle McIntyre is a Silicon Valley public relations consultant and IBM vet who spends most of her time working for Aircover Communications. Follow her at @fromMichelle on Twitter. Author’s note: Thank you PRSA-SV for hosting the panel and networking event. The panelists were Eugene Kim, Diane Brady, Kristen Nicole, and Lauren Goode. It was co-chaired by Michelle’s Aircover Communications’ Colleague Caroline James. 

85% of Jobs are Secured Via Networking: Here’s How to Do it Right

As a public relations professional I am often asked about how to best network. Building relationships is part of my job so this is a sensible inquiry.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics concludes that 85 percent of jobs are filled by networking. This can apply to landing a consulting gig as well. If you are looking for work or have a spot on the client roster, remember the tip that many jobs are filled before or right when they are posted. That’s because of networking.

Today I attended a talk hosted by a group of PR professionals: Smart networking tips were discussed. The speaker was Robin Beaman, a PR agency owner who worked for the likes of Oprah Winfrey.

Here are a few networking tips from the talk:

Networking is true relationship-building. It’s making and maintaining a friendship. Think about how to treat a friend. Buddies are nice and supportive to one another through good times and bad.

Giving the other person what they want is part of networking. Yes, this says help someone else. Not all networking is about what the other person can do for you. It’s a two-way street.

Call and follow up. This is definitely true when setting up a job interview or PR agency introduction meeting. However, it can also be applied to networking. Ms. Beaman said that it was not a smooth one step process securing her PR advisor opportunity with Oprah Winfrey. She followed up several times.

Perseverance works. Have a can-do attitude when pursuing opportunities. Robin Beaman said she didn’t just get in touch and immediately get hired to work her PR magic at B.E.T and Oprah Winfrey’s company. It took the right mindset, accompanying hard work and a massive amount of follow up.

In summary, my advice is that attitude plays the biggest role in landing a work opportunity. When you set your mind to doing something and hyper focus on that goal you have a higher likelihood of achieving it.

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Michelle McIntyre is a self-proclaimed Silicon Valley PR Diva, IBM PR vet, and syndicated blogger. She’s achieved 11 awards for outstanding media relations results. Follow her on Twitter @FromMichelle. @PRSASV hosted the event featuring Robin Beaman.

What’s Important To People During This Time of Uncertainty? Community, Gaming, and More

Many people who took a recent survey say a sense of tribe or community is important right now.

Andrea “Andy” Coville, CEO of public relations firm Brodeur Partners, author, and the guest speaker on today’s PRSA-SV Friday Forum, conveyed findings from a survey of around 2,500 U.S. citizens from Gen Z to Boomers about what’s important to them. 

She offered a few summaries like be authentic and a trusted source of information.

Furthermore when you are posting to social media, Coville added, convey information that people tend to agree upon. For example, no one will complain about a picture of your dog. She also said that sustainability is a smart topic to discuss.

I’ll add that there’s no doubt that a quality PR professional can advise in this regard. By the way I worked with Brodeur when I was in a corporate PR department.

Here are 13 points I found most interesting:

  1. A sense of community is very important. Feeling part of a tribe or community is key.
  2. It’s harder to change people’s perceptions right now.
  3. Society overall cares a lot about kindness, honesty and optimism.
  4. Many are discussing new career directions. It looks like Boomers are the least likely to have done this in 2020 though. People are questioning their values right now.
  5. If you are at a nonprofit and asking people for money, keep in mind that people are preoccupied with saving right now. They are giving, e.g. to colleges, which was the fourth top area of giving.
  6. Mentoring is a good gift to give. People will give you a lot of time right now, e.g. as opposed to 2014.
  7. Reliable information is hard to obtain.
  8. Gen Z folks, e.g. a 20 year old, share opinions and news partially to show that they align with a certain group.
  9. Millennials and Gen Xers share information more as a way to call someone out on a bad opinion.
  10. “Food and drink” is the top consumer category that people are loyal to right now.
  11. People tend to hang out with those who share their views. Why join a tribe or group? Friendship was cited as the top reason by 51%.
  12. Attitudes towards and at businesses have changed. This is happening in a bigger way in government, healthcare, branding and diversity and inclusion.
  13. There’s a rise in gaming among millennials, especially females. This was mentioned several times.

Andy Coville summarized her presentation by saying she looks forward to seeing a return to fun in branding. So do I, Andy. So do I.

Andrea Coville photo: WE Magazine

Community photo credit: Canva

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Michelle McIntyre who authored this story is a global technology PR consultant, IBM vet and the volunteer media relations lead for the Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council of Boy Scouts of America which now includes females: They recently celebrated their first female Eagle Scouts. @FromMichelle on Twitter Also follow @prsasv 

State of Communications 2020: Leaders Report It’s Not Business as Usual

The Silicon Valley Public Relations Society of America Silicon Valley chapter held its Friday Forum today with a panel offering timely updates on the state of communications departments and agencies.

In-house and agency pundits commented on the benefits of PR consulting help that’s fully remote, lack of diversity in the communications c-suite, 2021 spending priorities and mental health challenges.

There were varied answers in response to, how has business changed in 2020?

Jocelyn Breeland, Stanford said there have been communications staff cuts and hiring freezes. She has lost administrative support. A+ for transparency, Ms. Breeland.

Scott Thornburg said a PR leader now wears many hats and many plans went on hold. Now it’s time to rebuild.

Shaun Fletcher, PhD summed it up nicely, “We can no longer move forward as business as usual.”

His main concern seemed to be the added mental health challenges of people of color. He asks, can we do a better job as communicators telling those particular challenges and stories?

2021 spending priorities 

Ms. Aarti Shah who has been reporting on the communications industry since 2007 for PRovoke, formerly The Holmes Report discussed survey results released in August about 2021 spending priorities. 

The top five spending areas communications leaders in house will focus on are first corporate reputation, followed by second place public relations. Social media, in particular organic, was third on the list. Content development ranked fourth followed by employee engagement/change management. 

Lack of c-suite diversity

Shah was clearly bothered by the lack of diversity and people of color in the communications c-suite. Others chimed in on that topic. Jazmin Eusebio said when she started at her current communication job, she was shocked to not find anyone who looked like herself: “There were a lot of white faces. But now we have made huge strides.”

Syreeta Mussante seemed the most frank about lack of management diversity. She said that in her experience San Francisco firms have done a better job at employing and promoting nonwhite males than San Jose companies. 

Mussante mentioned that some agency managers clearly frowned upon female workers having children. (I’m pretty sure she was talking about a previous job.)

A representative from Highwire PR mentioned that they were hiring more diverse candidates. 

On remote work

Curtis Sparrer who runs a PR firm that’s been remote from its inception said that right now publicists are more accessible than they ever have been. He added that the high touch fluff activities mostly have gone away: there is more time to focus and be attentive to clients. 

Sparrer seemed the most positive of the bunch maybe because he was already remote, which I can relate to. I’ve been a remote PR professional for well over a decade. When Covid hit, I thought, it’s almost business as usual for me.

Although I’ve been remote a while, I do miss the in-person networking. I fondly remember sipping wine with PR friends at Santana Row pre-Covid.

Besides Fletcher mentioning the special mental health challenges of people of color, most PRSA-SV panel participants did not dive deep into the topic.

To sign up for the next PRSA-SV panel, visit the group’s page on Eventbrite. Go here to join PRSA.

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This story is by Silicon Valley PR Consultant Michelle McIntyre. An IBM vet and Eagle Scout mom, Ms. McIntyre serves as the volunteer media relations lead for the Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council of Boy Scouts of America. @FromMichelle on Twitter

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3 Ways to Stink at PR And How To Improve

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Some people just stink at PR for example by offering boring spokespersons. As background, PR stands for “public relations” which typically means getting press coverage. It’s coming up with messages and then passing those on to the press. If you went to PR school like me you learn that what PR really means is changing someone’s mind about something. But the modern definition is media relations.

Great PR is about knowing journalists’ wants, needs and deadlines and actually doing what they ask. It’s so simple: learn what they want and give it to them. For example the IDG media will tell you they value CIO/chief information officer viewpoints on timely trends as well as customer case studies that are interesting and relevant. Henry Norr, formerly with the San Francisco Chronicle said something that stuck with me: “Your client is the media. It’s not the company that pays you. Make the media happy and you will do well in PR.”

Back to not giving reporters what they want. How many times have I seen a PR manager or director try to put a triangular peg into a round hole? The journalist wants a story: they want to discuss a problem and a solution relating to something timely. They want eyeballs on their story. Make sure what you pitch them falls within their beat. If they need to interview a venture capitalist by 4 pm about hot collaboration startups then by golly, get them that exact thing or keep quiet.

What is too common is bad PR people announce a third generation me-too beta product via long press release just to get some news out. It fills up journalists’ inboxes. It gets ignored. It makes it far less likely that they will open an email from that PR person again.

I watch some people crash and burn in their PR jobs by never innovating on what the marketing lead wants which is typically product advertising and churning out press release after press release of garbage.

What are the three main problems contributing to bad PR, and how can you avoid them?

1) Spokespersons cannot tell a story. I have 30 years of PR experience and a boat load of awards for results mostly from IBM. I can lead a horse to water but brothers and sisters, I cannot make them drink. If you are insisting on a boring spokesperson who cannot story-tell or your only key message is boring, you will not get a story. I repeat. An interview does not mean a story. A spokesperson can easily kill a story. I’m very good at securing interviews. If you blow it, I can’t save you. How to fix it: do better media training or use a different spokesperson. When I was working with a large company often I’d “hand pick” my own spokesperson even if they were the non obvious choice. Once in a while the obvious choice was the best one though. (I love when that happens. There was a sales VP in a software division who could story-tell like Burl Ives. He was my favorite.)

2) A boring press release. Issuing a news release with boring non-news will get you blacklisted by some writers. They will open one blah press release and probably ignore your next email. Another route to take: If you need to get something out there so your company gets attention, try a feature press release instead of saying you are on your fourth product version, or “Here’s our beta product.”  Make it an interesting story: tie to something happening in the world that is conversation-worthy. Test the story on a family member. Teens will give you candid advice. I can make a commodity technology product interesting by discussing something interesting related to it. The writer then has a real headline and angle. Did you really expect them to write a story saying, “So and so company announces a second generation beta product with no new technology that is not shipping yet”? If they wrote the truth you’d probably be pretty angry. Unfortunately those types of details are often hidden in press releases. The writer finds this out in an interview and then they drop the idea of doing a story.

3) Re-announcing something. Years ago as a consultant I was asked to pitch a story about a new division of a large Asian company opening  up in the Silicon Valley. I placed a nice story within 30 minutes which made everyone happy. However, I found out a little while later that this was the second time they announced this exact news. Now I did  place that story, a win, but the reporter took my word for it and filed fast. After she found out it had been issued previously she was a bit put off. No one else filed a story. Now I know to do an internet search for that news before I pitch it. If I see an old press release on the same news, I change up the way I talk about it. Perhaps it’s a news pitch, “A look at where this new division is six months later.” The way to prevent this: search the news online before taking someone’s word for it that it is news. If  it’s not change your pitch strategy and tactic.

 

 

So if you aren’t getting press coverage, ask yourself, am I giving journalists what they really want? And review your press release schedule and choice of spokesmen. Tell an interesting story or discuss a trend. Pick the non obvious person to tell it if necessary.

Making a simple change might save your PR program and your job.

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Michelle McIntyre gets attention for companies mostly in the technology space through creative press relations and content marketing. An IBM vet, she’s a micro-influencer on Twitter in the area of future of work and recipient of more than 10 awards for outstanding results. Follow her @FromMichelle

Thou Shalt Follow These 10 PR Commandments

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A commandment is defined as a divine rule. If you want to be a devout public relations professional, follow these 10 PR commandments in 2020.

Thou shalt spell check PR materials. Let pitch notes, press releases, client reports, blog stories, speeches, video scripts and so on sit overnight. Proofread it again in the morning or have someone else look at it. Sometimes editors will share an error-filled pitch or press release over social media to showcase poor communication that they have received.

Thou shalt keep thy PR message brief. Pitches more than 250 words might be hard for a top tier writer to comprehend. Some writers receive 400+ email pitches a day. Get to your point concisely.

Thou shalt surprise thy journalist. When you write a press release, ask yourself, did you include something new, interesting or surprising? Did you explain how it would improve someone’s life or improve a business process?

Thou shalt have a PR coverage goal. When you set out to garner attention for a company, concept or product, set a success bar. How much attention is considered successful? For example, your goal could be one feature print story, two TV news spots and five million impressions.  A tool like Meltwater could help.

Thou shalt not annoy an editor with too much follow up. Too many follow up messages might get you blacklisted by a writer. Use logic when following up. Instead of asking, did you receive the pitch note, ask something else like, are you back from holiday? Or, how was the trade show?

Thou shalt not abuse a mobile phone number. When a writer gives you their mobile phone number, don’t call it unless the situation is urgent. Typically people now can receive an email or direct social media message pretty quickly.

Thou shalt read a recent story by the writer before pitching. Read a recent story by the journalist before reaching out. If you don’t see any stories published in the past couple of years, they may not be worth your time. Maybe they took a job in PR, which is common these days. The exception is someone who edits but doesn’t have bylines. But lately it seems that editors publish as well.

Thou shalt not pitch via public Twitter profile. Journalists like scoops. They are not likely to discuss a solid story idea over their Twitter account for the competition to see. Some read direct messages but to send them a message they have to be following you. So it helps to have a quality Twitter profile and messages.

Thou shalt listen to what the writer wants. If a writer wants to only talk to customers and not the CEO, don’t keep offering interviews with the CEO.

Thou shalt say, “no” and add “try this instead.” When the lead marketing executive demands that you issue a press release on a drab, me-too, follow-on product, don’t be a yes man or woman. Offer a better idea like production of a video featuring a happy customer of the first product. Or write a pitch featuring a happy customer and success story: offer the customer as an interview source to a favorite writer. Mention the new product briefly as an aside.

Save the in-depth new product description for direct communications with customers and prospects and/or the right social media channels.

Boy praying photo:  Shutterstock

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Michelle McIntyre, an award-winning IBM vet and blogger is the president of Michelle McIntyre Communications LLC, a tech PR consulting firm in the Silicon Valley. McIntyre has served on several  nonprofit boards and was named VLAB Volunteer of the Year in 2017 for her marketing and blogging efforts. @FromMichelle on Twitter

 

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