Just in Time for ILTA...Here are some media tips from two leading industry editors on how to work with them for coverage of your product/company news. Both Charles and Monica, along with Randi Mayes, ILTA's Executive Director and the Editor for Peer to Peer Magazine, will be serving on our media panel at the ILTA/InsideLegal Vendor Education Program this Monday at the ILTA Annual Conference in Nashville. After the session, we will be having a vendor reception to give vendors a chance to meet our panelists. For now, here are their tips to consider when contacting them.
PR Ten commandments from Charles Christian, Editor of American Legal Technology Insider (ALTi) & The Orange Rag
- PRs who can't get my name right – it's Charles not Christian.
- Who don't understand what my market & industry is all about (I specialize in the technology that lawyers use NOT the legal issues surrounding the use of technology).
- Who are clearly unfamiliar with my publications despite the fact access to the blog is free and there is a section on the newsletter website headed If you are a PR please read this first (True story: a friend recently received an email from a PR agency that read "We really enjoy reading <insert name of publication here> and would like to interest you in a story etc etc...")
- Who seem to think I was born yesterday and will accept their claims that their client, who is brand new to the market, not only knows everything there is to know but is sufficiently qualified to tell genuine market leaders where they have been going wrong all these years. This is the equivalent of a photocopier salesman telling Steve Jobs of Apple that he'd sell more kit if he switched to Microsoft Windows. Credibility it ain't.
- Who seem to think I was born yesterday and will accept their claims that their client has just sold a major order to a major player in the market but without mentioning any names or deal prices. Sorry guys and gals, selling an entry-level PC to a One-Man-&-A-Dog operation is not front page news. No names = No fame (or column inches)
- Offer me an exclusive story and then reveal it has already been issued as a press relese to other publications. Bit of a problem with understanding the definition of exclusive is there?
- Offer me an exclusive story and then try to un-offer it because they think they may be able to get a better deal with a national newspaper. (They never do.)
- Expect me to fight their commercial battles for them – typically they would like me to defame their competitors.
- Send me snotty letter complaining that I did not use the stupid typography their sTUPiD cLIENT insists on using but instead ran it as Stupid Client. My response here is always the same: last time I checked I was still the editor and publisher so I'll use whatever typography layout I want – however if they would like to buy my publication then they can do whatever they like with the typography.
- Cannot spell the names of their own clients correctly – no, this really does happen.
Quick Tips from Monica Bay, Editor-in-Chief of Law Technology News magazine
- Do your homework before you pitch. Read the publication, know what it covers, and more importantly, what they do not cover. Nothing marks you as a neophyte faster than, for example, suggesting a Q&A when the publication never runs them.
- Don’t use industry jargon in product press releases. Most product news “gatekeepers” are new journalists, often in their first job. They may have no context of either legal or technology. For the most accurate coverage, use plain English.
- Don’t call the editor to ask if they got your press release. But be sure to put full contact information on the press releases so editors can reach you if they need further information.
- If your press release is about an upgrade of a product, be sure to describe the underlining product. Don’t assume the reporters will remember.
- If you are conducting a demonstration, carefully monitor the body language of the reporter — to check engagement. If you just plow through a script, the reporter may be mentally compiling his or her grocery store shopping list instead of listening to you.
- Remember Seinfeld: no “close talking” please during demonstrations.
- Don’t send cryptic press releases: be sure you describe your product, what it is and does, and its target audience.
- Keep up with the staff: Stay current on the names of reporters; they change frequently. E-mail sent to former reporters may be automatically rejected or may linger in spam filters.