When I speak with people about the ideas of real-time marketing and public relations, they understand that our access to today's communications tools means we can communicate immediately. Twitter allows instant dialogue with buyers. Blog posts help you get your ideas into the marketplace right now. And monitoring tools like Google Alerts and TweetDeck provide up-to-the-second knowledge of what people are saying about you, your company, and its products.
However, while people do generally understand the situation, many have difficulty adopting the personal and corporate mind-set and habits required for success. Too many individuals, and the organizations they work for, take the cautious and careful approach: always wait and see, always check with the experts before acting on an opportunity. Unfortunately, this typical behavior will lose you the advantage.
"We were in The Bridge tracking that President Obama was going to give the Teacher of the Year Award and we were watching live on CNN," he says. "And it was a chemistry teacher who won that award so we immediately got approval from Dow Chemical to go ahead and offer up public congratulations to the teacher and that resulted in some nice coverage. Even with the trickier clients there are always topics that will work."
The real-time mind-set recognizes the importance of speed. It is an attitude to business (and to life) that emphasizes moving quickly when the time is right. If you are met with utter indifference, ask leading questions that require a response. For example: "Have you found that the paper has done stories like this in the past?" (it’s not a bad idea if you can cite an example) or "Would additional news angles help you?" (and then provide them). If the journalist still isn’t biting, offer to send more material (if you have it) and say you’ll call back in a few days.
Gentle persistence erodes stubborn resistance. Of course, record everything on your tracking sheet. These suggestions are generic to all media. Getting what you want by phone involves careful manipulation of the call. You must feel in command even as you behave deferentially to the person you speak with. As the saying goes, you get no second chance to make a first impression.