Huh? Was she telling me that her agency -- known for delivering cutting edge PR work -- puts its stock-in-trade in good old fashioned media relations? What about conversation mining, groundswelling, "owned" content, virality, sizzle reels, re-tweets, likes and shares, Reddit, Pinterest and Instagram, etc.?
"Oh sure. We do some of that," she said. "But it's media placement that continues to be the dominant measure by which our clients gauge and pay for our success." And that's OK.
These self-styled "Gladwellian connectors," as I like to call them, dash off an email, FB message or Twitter DM to make connections to advance their client's business interests, i.e., biz dev, a speaking slot or a Tweet from someone with Klout. No media positioning, messaging, targeting, engaging or training required.
Yet editorial coverage continues to drive conversations, and those who've been doing it a while no doubt recognize that it's gotten much harder to gain traction. Sure the 3:1 ratio of PRs to reporters doesn't help. But to my friend's point, an increasing number of those charged with engaging today's beleaguered journalists simply do not have the right skill sets or training for doing so.
"Dear PR Lady: Here's Why I Didn't Open Any Of Your 3 Email Pitches (Although I Wish I Had)"Working the startup beat in New York City where startups abound, Alyson has seen more than her fair share of PR pitches - like 200+ a day, I bet.
Here's what she advises the sender of three separate emails - each with different subject lines:
"Due to an absurd amount of startup pitches that infiltrate my inbox, I've learned to manage emails by scanning for three things:Alyson, thanks for the schooling.
- The sender
- The subject title
I use Gmail, so those are the three things I can see without clicking to open the message. The three emails I received...were titled:
- The first sentence
- The Trouble with Pebble: Kickstarter competitor Rally.org Sheds Some Light
- Embargoed News: Rally.org secures unique round of funding from superstar investors
Here's why I didn't open them:
- Social fundraising platform Rally.org raises $7.9 million in Series A funding online
- I had never met or heard of the people sending me the news, and it was clear they didn't know me either
- I had never heard of Rally.org, so using the startup's name in the subject title wasn't alluring
The most interesting part of the news, the investors (which help give unknown startups credibility) were never mentioned up front."
- "Embargoed news" isn't particularly compelling either. No reporter wants news every other publication will be receiving. They want exclusives!