Sometimes, we make life so complex, we forget how simple it can actually be.
At Baker Communications, we’re in the business of helping our clients introduce themselves to the world: journalists, analysts, business partners, bloggers, investors and customers. Occasionally, we hear from clients things like “Why is that reporter so in love with [insert name of competitor here]? We need to send more press releases!”
Our answer is usually something to the effect that more is not better. It’s about quality – of your products and of your communication about those products.
This was driven home by desktop virtualization analyst, blogger and all-around expert Brian Madden. Brian and I have had numerous conversations over the years about various virtualization clients. Most recently, he sent me the following email, which is positively brilliant in its simplicity (not to mention a chapter out of PR 101):
“What we ask of you (and every vendor) is to keep us up to date with what you’re doing. Send us news, announcements, thoughts, new features, press releases, etc. (As a favor, I ask that you actually put the text of what you’re sending in the body of an email or as an attachment since I spend some much time on airplanes with no Internet connection and I spend a lot of time reading stuff from my Blackberry.)
But beyond that, I’ll be totally blunt with you (with the hopes that this can help you provide the info that we want and to connect in the way that we want):
We get a lot of email from vendors and PR folks wanting to “connect” or “update” us. Seriously – at least ten of these types of emails per day. If we actually took all those meetings were would spend 100% of our time talking to vendors. So we have to prioritize and pick-and-choose.
So what you can do to help us is to send us the information that you want to discuss in the email itself. Send us the Powerpoints that you’d like to go through. Send us a few bullet points in the body of an email that can convince me on my Blackberry that I need to talk to you. Because what happens usually is we take the call from the vendor and it’s about 90% worthless. Either them going through a deck that I could have skimmed in 5 minutes or it’s them asking me for advice about their product. So instead of sending emails that say “we should catch up, when do you have time?”, send us an email that says, “Here is x, y, and z that is cool about us, here’s our briefing deck, we would like to talk to you specifically about a and b.”
So I think that’s a quick snapshot. I guess the final thing is to share this info with all your PR friends. I’m sure they’re pitching busy folks too, and man, if I had a nickel for every “we should talk when you get a chance email,” then I wouldn’t have to blog anymore.
For the record: at BakerCG, we endeavor to go to people like Brian with useful, timely information that is germane to their area of interest. That said, every reporter, blogger and analyst has his or her own preferences of what they want and need from PR people. The fact that Brian was able to voice it so succinctly will only benefit all parties concerned: him, the PR agency and the client. We just need to listen.