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"In A Couple Days" Days Are Over

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In my experience, I have worked with some very educated people, from politicians to corporate leaders to internationally renowned experts, and so on. Yet, no matter what their industry, no matter how prestigious their academic background, I always seem to locate individuals who fail to see the clearly obvious…evidently it’s not too clear or they wouldn’t be missing it. So, let’s elaborate.
What’s this “clearly obvious” thing?
ACCESSIBILITY.
In the world of publicity and promotion, of media and PR, ACCESSIBILITY is king.
It’s been said, in the online realm, “content is king,” but you don’t have content unless you have ACCESSIBILITY to the experts who provide you with the information and interviews that BECOME the content.
People who may be on the “cutting edge” in their own fields are often mired in 1963 when it comes to their understanding of how information is disseminated today.
And, to find that silver lining in this dark cloud, one could argue that that’s a good thing as it keeps communications professionals like myself gainfully employed.
Anyway, anyone interested in self-promotion, in doing media, must understand that the era of “oh, I can respond in a couple of days” is LOOONNNNNNNNNGGGGGG over. And for a LOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGG time. At least 3rd season SEINFELD –ago.
Once the internet emerged in the public domain in the 90s, it was official end-of-“I’ll get back to you tomorrow”-days. Unless, of course, you don’t have a problem with somebody else, likely a competitor, getting the publicity and coverage you had hoped to get.
Journalists of all types, whether it’s a traditional newspaper reporter (there are still some around) or an online blogger or a TV producer, will tell you time and time again, what trumps all cards is ACCESSIBILITY.
The media has to be able to get to you. I had a news producer for a local station tell me that the number one thing they consider when discussing whether to cover an event is…drum roll…PARKING.
If they can’t get to you, and get to you CONVENIENTLY, EASILY, forget it. There will be something else, someone else, who will be available, and likely have hot baked cookies to offer as well.
Content may not be king, but it’s close, so that means there’s a desire to get new stories and features out online again and again, as quickly as possible, all the time, so if you’re not available RIGHT NOW, there’s a fairly good chance your chances are not unlike a Chris Davis home run—and you can wave it BYE-BYE.
There are some individuals out there who prescribe to what I’ve long called the “magic box” theory—that’s the theory that I, the client, have to do nothing, provide nothing, give up nothing, in order to have news articles detailing all my best qualities appear in media o’er the land.
Doesn’t work. Because the PR person is NOT the client. The reporter doesn’t want to interview the PR person, they want to interview YOU. And that means, MAKE YOURSELF AVAILABLE.
Does this mean you have to “drop everything” and do an interview right then and there?
Sometimes, yes. If it’s the NEW YORK TIMES and I’m shouting, YES, YES, DO THIS INTERVIEW!
Seriously, it may be hard to “drop everything” if everything is somebody’s liver (I work with surgeons), but I’ll tellya truth—I’ve had doctors in the OR have someone call me to find out what’s up if they notice their cell is buzzing.
I had one doctor do an interview while at the bottom of a ski slope (he’d been skiing). I’ve had clients do interviews while on vacation. Why not? I’m getting media calls on my vacation, so why shouldn’t the client take a few minutes to do an interview? Yes, that can be annoying, yes, it may seem unfair, but what can I say?
Welcome to the 21st century.
The clients I work with who get the most coverage are the ones who “get this.” They provide their cell, their personal emails, etc., they text me, they email me, they call me, they let me know what they are are or are not interested in, and they do it in a timely manner.
This isn’t rocket science. This isn’t even remedial rocket science. You don’t need a Harvard degree to get this.
Client on the phone, gets interview. Client not on the phone, does not get interview. Client who responds to email quickly gets the opportunity. Client who responds to email after a week or three or never, most definitely does NOT get the opportunity.
The days of “will get back to you in a few days” are over. Chances are, that’s the last thing the dinosaurs said before the Ice Age hit. And so it goes…

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