Sam Whitmore Comes to Town!

Company Culture, Events, Public Relations Posted Apr 4, 2017 by Liza Vilnits

At least once a year we’re lucky enough to catch up with media guru Sam Whitmore to hear the latest updates about who’s who and what’s new in the media and especially the tech press, as well as learn all the newest trends and opportunities for PR people to maximize our pitching success. Sam wants to ensure we’re receiving the greatest return on our investment in the Sam Whitmore Media Survey—a must-have resource for PR agencies, and so whenever we hear he’s coming to Boston, we use it as an excuse to grab beers and catch up!Sam W. group pic March 2017

As someone who’s built a successful business with the founding principle to help PR people deliver better coverage for their clients, and doing so more efficiency and with deeper insight on the players and the outlets, Sam’s definitely someone we value. Sam gets the PR game, understands our goals and knows how the media works. That combination, delivered through his Media Survey, helps make our lives easier. After all, he’s coming up on his 20th year with the Media Survey and while CHEN PR has been with him almost since the beginning, he still makes an effort to leave his quiet life in Maine to join us in the big city at some crowded dive bar to share his latest insights with us. This time, we actually classed it up for Sam and picked the swanky Godfrey Hotel bar as our meeting spot.

While we always leave our meets with Sam feeling engaged and creatively inspired, this time was nice because we were actually able to help Sam for once, serving as his “focus group” and sharing some of the stuff we’d be interested in seeing as he preps for his next “Deep Dive” on security. One of the focus areas we discussed was doing a dive into broadcast reporters. As an area of coverage that our clients increasingly express interest in, we’d see tremendous value in learning the key players in the top broadcasting firms, their focus areas and the best tips for breaking through to them.

While conversations jumped back and forth between business and personal, one discussion I had with Sam that I found quite valuable was around byline strategies. The feedback Sam has received from managing editors who review vendor bylines is that if the general stance that the author is taking can’t be challenged, they’re not interested. In the title, for example, can you insert the word “not” and change the implications about the piece’s premise?

Editors don’t want a wishy-washy article that plays it safe and rehashes what people already know; they want an opinion piece that makes a bold statement. There’s no value in writing something that doesn’t spark follow-up conversation—whether affirmation or rebuttal—or lead to further questions. A helpful point to keep in mind when discussing bylines strategies with clients.

Between the chatter of byline strategies, CHEN PR hires and clients, and drink orders, we managed to squeeze in one photo.

Until next time, thanks Sam!