The Pundit is starting to get requests for submissions of press releases, so, to make sure I can pay proper attention to your announcements, please let your people know that they should be sending press releases to the following e-mail address:
This is as good a time as any for a Pundit Peeve: The indiscrimate sending of press releases without regard to whom you are sending them to or what they might do with the press releases.
Some really bad PR people might convince you that it is great to “get your message out there” — without regard to the appropriateness of what you are saying or to whom you are saying it. This is typically so they can charge you money and not do much work but just send things out to lists that they somehow have in their possession.
Really good PR people know that the key is to identify appropriate outlets for what you have to say and then to help identify a skew that might work for that particular outlet. This is the way to get quality coverage for your organization and its ventures.
Typically, you are better off thinking hard and telling your story to a few important venues, in ways that make perfect sense for the audience and the nature of the media outlet.
Because of our format, I will probably use a small fraction of the press releases I receive, and then the releases will typically be used as jumping points for larger stories. I will occasionally try to pluck out obscure events, as I did with the Tortilla Convention, and find something exemplarity in a product launch, as I did with BelGioioso Cheese.
Sometimes a press release can alert me to some big ideas that we can discuss here as it did when the foodservice people at Marriott came out with their predictions for next year. A lot of the time, I will use a press release as a kick-off to talk about subjects I’ve been thinking about for a long time. A lot of times, the information I’ll reveal in the course of these discussions go far beyond the press release, as in our discussions of Tesco and its ramifications.
Generally, we are not looking for great secrets. You will rarely read the Pundit writing about all the inside baseball that I’m privy to. Yes, it is part of my job to be hooked in well enough that few things are total surprises, but the more important part is not to find great secret things that nobody knows about. Instead, my job is to identify what matters and to explore the latent meaning and significance of that, perhaps, well known event.
The best PR starts years before the release. It starts long before the product or event; it starts when you begin building relationships with people and organizations that can help you get your message out. PR from people I know, who have a stake in building and maintaining our relationship, is always going to be more trustworthy and reliable. And smart people realize that relationships go both ways.
So, please, I value the opportunity to know players in this arena — it is one of the joys of my job. If you are planning a visit to South Florida this winter, Pundit Central, give me a call and we’ll try to get together. If we are both going to the same industry event, I’m happy to try and schedule a meeting. If you think we should be in touch, pick up the phone or send me an e-mail and let us start some dialogue.
Please, send all the press releases you want — but make sure it is stuff that you want the Pundit to see and stories you think the Pundit should hear. Think how much more impressive your organization seems when it does things right.