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Squeezing Fresh Tech Media Opportunities
The Dovetail Tech Publicity Checklist
 More of this Feature
 Tech Publicity Checklist
 16 Media Release Ideas
 Press Tours, Trade Shows
 
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 Dovetail Public Relations
 

by Mark Coker
Dovetail Public Relations

     (Publicity Checklist - Continued)


Awards PR

Many publications offer a variety of awards for innovative new products, or the best products in a review. In instances where the editors (as opposed to the readers) make the nominations, PR can play a big role in having your products considered. If the awards are determined based on a reader ballot, then be sure your PR team contacts the publication far enough in advance so that your company or your products can be listed on the ballot.


Columnist Campaigns

It's a tough job being a columnist, who each week or each month needs to come up with a fresh opinion about an important subject. Your PR team should familiarize themselves with the columnists who write for your top target publications and offer column ideas for which your company can assist the columnist. As a vendor of a cool product or service, your executives often possess insight into important trends and issues that could serve as great column topics.


Contributed Articles

Several publications publish articles written by vendors. These articles are a great vehicle to further establish your executives, your company and your ideas in the marketplace.  The most credible contributed articles don't even mention the vendor's products. The one negative of contributed articles is that they tend to be extremely time consuming to produce. If your company doesn't have the talent or the time to write the article in-house, the PR team can contract with a professional writer, typically a freelance journalist. Sample publications that accept vendor contributed articles include:

Computer Technology Review
Customer Support Management
Network World


Editorial Calendaring


One of the most important ongoing media relations activities is editorial calendaring. Here, the PR team works to gain inclusion for your company in planned editorial features and seeks to position your executives as expert sources of information.  The PR team attempts to position you as a "one stop shop" for expert technology trend insight and opinion.

Your PR team should take an aggressive, proactive approach to editorial calendaring.  The PR team should work to make early contact with the editors in charge, and wherever possible, help the editors define the topic so that it plays into your areas of strength.  For example, often a topic on the editorial calendar will initially be described in general terms such as "networking," and the publication will let the reporter decide what area of networking to focus on, such as routers or hubs.  If you're a router vendor, you'll clearly want reach that reporter early and make a case for why you think they should focus on routers.

The PR team can take editorial calendaring to the next level by actually working with the publications to help them define their editorial calendar schedules for the following year. The campaign should begin in the September/October timeframe, and will seek to suggest editorial calendar subjects that will benefit your company the following year.


Editorial Onsite Visits

A key responsibility of PR is to build valuable relationships with the media.  Whenever possible, the PR team should attempt to arrange for editors and reporters to visit your offices. Occasionally, the visit is associated with a news announcement.  The PR team should attempt to have your most important reporters and analysts visit at least once every year or two.


Expert Sourcing

With expert sourcing, we seek to attach ourselves to another story.  For example, if your company produces anti-virus software and there's a sudden outbreak of a new computer virus, your PR team can arrange for the media to speak with your company's experts for their perspective and insight.  Don't just limit your expert sourcing outreach to print media -- broadcast media are constantly on the outlook for articulate "talking heads" who are experts in various fields.


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