Gina is right. So is Chris. We (flacks) as a group, generally suck. As a whole it took us a long time to catch on to the whole blog thing and we’re still a little terrified about it. Generally there’s no publisher to
threaten appeal to and your commenting readers are of the One Flew Over the Cuckoo nest kind of nuts.
- To the energy editor – “Just wanted you to know that some widgets by widget co are produced with clean/wind/horse/nuclear energy”
- To the religion writer – “You may not have known this but the factory workers at widget factory have a religion”
- To the kids/family writer – “We wanted to remind you (and your readers) that widgets are totally appropriate toys and not at all a choke hazard”
- To the W. Coast bureau chief – “We wanted to let your office know that widgets are really popular out there and may merit a story.”
You see where this is going.
Then again, sometimes we don’t know better. Here’s the other, not uncommon, scenario….
- Month of Tidgets
- Tidgets & Widgets
- Tidgets Worldwide
- Widgets International, with a quarterly Tidgets International supplement
to see who the exact proper beat reporter is?
No, we’re going to our database and searching for Tidget beat and Tidget ‘pitching notes’…even if the pitching note says “Not interested in Tidgets, I think they’re the scourge of the Earth.”
Yeah, you’ve got a blog called “Tidgets Today” that doesn’t cover Tidgets for some reason — tough, you’re getting the release and the follow-up call. Heck we may even be a bit drunk to get the nerve to actually make these calls (ok, not really, but we’ll wish we were).
And this doesn’t just apply on coverage topics, it’s also a geographic issue.
Imagine if you will, the days before the popularization of the internet – the midsize shop in NYC knew the regional press and the trade press. If a project fell outside that parameter they found a colleague in another small shop in the proper part of the country/world. So when NYC Co. opens LA Office small shop in LA gets directed to handle the LA press under NYC’s guidance.
Now we’re all national (if not international) agencies because we can see every paper on the planet every day and most for free online. Of course all the small-medium NYC agencies don’t read the LAT everyday, we’ve got enough NY papers to keep up with, but you can bet if a client walks in and asks can we handle an LA project the answer will be yes. Why? Why not just farm it out to the LA agency?
Two big reasons – dollars and cents.
This year in particular we’re all trying to bring in as much as possible now. We’ll worry about later when later happens. The other big issue – even if our client loves us, the second we look at them and say “we can’t do that” (even if there’s a good reason why not) we run the risk of losing the client altogether, not just for that one project – either to a larger agency (which always poses a threat) or to a similar agency that is willing to lie and/or blindmail everyone possibly interested.
So we pick the lesser of the two evils – staying in business and keeping the client and doing our darndest to not bother too many people or hit outside the interest area. Do we succeed? Certainly not all of the time…
Oh, and PS …. (see part 2)