Media Relations for Software Companies

Via PR Communications, an interesting article from about getting the media interested in your software company. The article provides solid advice, including “treat the media exactly as you would treat a potential significant customer.” As the publication belies, it’s directed at CEOs, but provides a wealth of tips useful for anyone wanting more information on how to deal with the media.

Tactical Tip 2D: Be a resource rather than a figurehead. Your top-of-mind goal with all media relations should be this: You want to be the first person that journalist calls next time (and every time).

In your conversations with the media, you will undoubtedly find yourself in situations where you recognize that you are not the best person for this reporter to be talking to – and that’s perfectly OK.

Tell them whom they should be talking to, along with the necessary contact information, and this will have four tangible results:

  1. The writer will be grateful that you’ve turned him on to a source he didn’t know about, and will make a note in his Rolodex next to your name that reads, “Good resource.”
  2. The writer will be pleasantly surprised by your honesty and humility – the fact that you didn’t try to puff up your own feathers – and will make a note in his Rolodex that says, “Good person.”
  3. The person whom you told the writer to talk to will be thankful for the opportunity to speak to the press and further polish his or her own star – and if they’re smart, they’ll return the favor someday.
  4. You now have a legitimate reason for a proactive follow-up call and a continued relationship with that writer. It’s very difficult – and seldom successful – to call editors out of the blue; it’s exactly the same as cold-calling prospects from the telephone directory.

But with this first call under your belt, you have the beginning of a bond. In your travels, your reading, and your conversations, when you come across an interesting new twist or idea, feel free to share it with the writer, even if it’s simply an e-mailed “FYI.”

Now, keep in mind that writers rarely re-visit exactly the same topic without some breathing time. E.g., all you marketing consultants out there don’t need to contact me with your PR wisdom, because I won’t address this subject again for at least six months.

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