Media Relations in the 90s. Then and Now.

For those of us who began our PR and Marketing careers in the 90’s, the press release on heavy, bonded stationary was king.

There was no Vocus, Cision or PR Newswire. Press people had a Bacon’s press book, with addresses and phone numbers so you could, yes, mail your press release and then call each reporter to see if he or she received it.

Nobody was in love with this system.

And while it sounds like things have changed so much, they haven’t really. Because then, like now, the only way a reporter would even OPEN your mail is if he or she recognized your name and thought you might have something valuable to say.

But how do you say something valuable, when your clients need/tell/want you saying the same thing over and over?

There were several articles in the last day or so about Twitter, relationship building and media outreach. Some were good, some obvious, and one was great.  They all discuss the importance of relationships, but was about shedding your Twitter ego and going a bit further, and following your competitors. This quote is from the article, Why Bill Gates Should Return Eric Schmidt’s Twitter Follow by Rupal Parekh and discusses what marketers would gain by seeing how the proverbial other half lives.

“For example, how often do your rivals communicate with their customers on Twitter, and what’s their tone?” Parekh writes.  “What type of personality do they have? What sorts of promotions are they running in their Twitter communities, and what types of crises are they are facing?”

Besides being a hilarious title, following your competitors, monitoring their relationships and interactions – that’s interesting and compelling stuff. And while such activity won’t earn you a higher open rate among the press, it will provide you with valuable insight and  interesting things to say. And sometimes, that’s half the battle.


One Response

  1. I’d recommend this to any business in these changing times – follow your competitors. I friend/follow/etc. lots of people who are theoretically my competitors, but I learn a lot from them and on larger projects, know who to call for collaboration.

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