PR Advice: Be the Story Danny…

Social Media, Uncategorized Posted Aug 30, 2012 by Kevin Kosh

PR people get a lot of “advice.” I put that in quotes because a lot of times the “advice” not that helpful. Some advice is a directive, disguised as a question or a suggestion. “We should be in [publication] and I think they want to talk about [product.]”

Some advice stops short of being truly helpful.  How do you get coverage?  “Read what I write about.”

Stuck in the middle is a PR person, who is putting blindfolded.  I use the golf analogy because when I sometimes think about what has worked for me over the past 20+ years, I think of the famous scene in Caddyshack, where Ty Webb gives advice to young Danny.  You can watch the full clip below (lots of times like I did if you love Caddyshack.)  My three takeaways:

  • Know to whom you’re talking. Not just their name, and what they generally write about, but what they NEED.
  • Think for yourself, but don’t outthink yourself. Don’t overcomplicate the pitch with only what you want.  Find the middle ground – or more specifically, find a story.
  • Let things happen. Take what is happening around you versus forcing an agenda.  Don’t be part of the noise, just be the ball…

If you question whether my advice is valid, look no further than the invaluable PR resource that is Sam and Christy Whitmore’s Media Survey, (be the subscription Danny…you won’t be sorry) and Sam’s recent interview with Forbes security reporter extraordinaire (and author of This Machine Kills Secrets – another must read) Andy Greenberg.

Fully admitting, and alerting you to, some shameless self-promotion here’s what Andy finds helpful from PR people:

Andy’s idea of an effective PR pro is CHEN PR partner and VP Kevin Kosh.

Kevin Kosh has done a really nice job of sending me alerts about every big news story that hits my feed. And so I listen to him. I’m not sure if it’s ever turned into a helpful story for him. But he’s absolutely a PR person who comes to mind immediately. Kevin isn’t coming to me and saying, “This just happened,” or “You just wrote about this. Can I offer comments from the CEO of my startup I’m representing?” He’s just sending me the story. And he does it very quickly. He sometimes distributes my story when I break the news. And I’ve found him to be a valuable person to me. I’m not sure if that relationship has ever benefited him. But I suppose that I feel value in what he does for me.

Andy’s acknowledgment that I’ve been helpful to him is a great gut check to ensure I’m adding value. And yes, it has benefitted me, and led to some coverage of my clients.  However, it has led to coverage in the right way, it tells a story, not shills a product – which is more mutually beneficial and respectful. It’s a model we’ve always subscribed to at CHEN PR and it’s gratifying to hear every once in a while that it’s the right one.