A sign of PR cluelessness is writing to a reporter after an article appears because you think that it should have mentioned your product or company. There are two problems with this theory: first, the reporter isn’t going to revise the original piece; and second, she’s not going to write another article covering the same topic in the near future.
Thus, the most likely outcome is that the reporter thinks that you don’t understand how journalism works. However, you never know because a clueless move of this sort worked for me recently. In the middle of June, Wendy Bounds wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal blog called “15 Entrepreneur Blogs Worth Reading.” She mentioned my blog, but it would have been great if she had mentioned Startups.alltop.com and Venturecapital.alltop.com too.
So I emailed her–hoping that, best case, sometime in the far future she’d mention Alltop or these two specific sites. Knock me over with a feather, she then wrote “Anti-Social Aggregator? ‘Alltop’ Lists Any Story, Not Just Popular Ones.” I can hardly believe my good fortune, and I learned several lessons:
Digital media is different–duh!. Blogging and other digital media are much more nimble than paper-based publications. A second story on Alltop was unlikely in the old world unless there was “big news” about the site. With blogging, you can link various tidbits of coverage published at different times and create a cohesive resource for readers. It’s not easy to do this with print.
Richer is better. If my email was about yet-another entrepreneurial blog that should have been in the first story, Wendy would not have written written about it. However, the follow-on story about Alltop made the first story richer and better for her readers because it aggregates similar content.
Solving a problem is good too. Unbeknownst to me, Alltop solved a problem for Wendy: she couldn’t find a good list of entrepreneurial blogs using Google while writing the story. Alltop was the answer for her problem, and she thought many other people must encounter the same problem.
To tell you the truth, there are two more lessons that I learned–or, more accurately, relearned. First, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get.” Second, “sometimes it’s better to be lucky than smart.” My recommendation is that if you’re dealing with a similar situation (digital media, your product or service truly supplements the original story, and you really solve a problem), then take the shot.
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