John P. David
having a drink (bourbon) with a reporter from a major national news outlet
(The Wall Street Journal), the discussion turned to the top guy at
a company that is one of our newest clients.
The executive is well
positioned to comment on one of the biggest business stories of the year
(the subprime meltdown). I mentioned to the journalist that we were still
getting to know our client, but my gut was telling me that our guy could
be an excellent source for the Journal.
My journalist friend then
said, in a very frank manner, the following (paraphrasing): "So you
haven't gotten hold of him yet and turned him into a lifeless spewer of
self-serving drivel." I laughed because our guy, thankfully, remains
pure; and then I cried because so many other executives fail in the PR
game because they refuse to say anything meaningful.
Corporate America is becoming
a nation of drivel spewers. National business reporters are usually very
smart individuals with high degrees of intellectual curiosity. Most have
access to incredible amounts of data regarding the industries they cover
and are typically well-informed. They also have long memories, don't mind
phoning regulators/government officials and, in general, have a low
tolerance for BS.
What they want more than
anything is reliable insight. In other words, they want their sources to
say something meaningful, true and authentic. Sounds simple enough but it
really appears to be in short supply. Journalists are searching far and
wide for those who are willing to speak the truth about important topics.
Here are my top three tips for
building relationships with the national press:
Can the canned speech.
Fetishes aside, nobody wants smoke blown up their behind. Sources need
to have clear message points and be prepared when speaking with the
media, but real opinions and verifiable facts will trump the spin
every time. Lead with the truth about your business or industry and
you will be on your way.
Help by "trendspotting,"
or better yet, "scoopspotting." Journalists love to identify
the next big trend. Want a journalist to remember you, help them out
by letting them know which way your industry is turning/heading.
Further, if you can offer up a real nugget of unreported news (a
scoop), you will have a friend for a long time.
David has more than 18 years of experience in the public relations
industry, serving Florida-based and national clients. For more
information, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit www.davidgarciapr.com.
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