On the face of it terrible dates and media relations to get coverage have absolutely nothing in common.
But stick with us and you’ll see that everything from the faux pas to the face-palmingly awful things that constitute the worst dates have a lot to do with working with the media.
Cheesy chat-up lines
Does anyone ever fall for these? Even more prevalent in the world of online dating are the cheesy profile cliches and the opening gambits that seem canned at best and utterly boring at worst.
The reason they don’t work is because they are unoriginal and seem (almost) like a cut and paste job.
Well guess what? That email blast that starts “Dear
XXX Sarah” is dead giveaway that you’ve sent this to every reporter you’ve been able to track down.
Result? That email is getting deleted without being read. Media relations fail.
Do not go on and on about yourself
Imagine it. You’ve been looking forward to this date after plenty of flirty text messages. You’ve picked out the right spot which says “I’ve got my finger on the pulse of what’s going on in this town” and you’ve put together a great outfit which is on the right side of sexy.
Your cute date arrives and after the awkward pleasantries and ordering that first round of cocktails, you get into a groove of finding out more about each other.
What could be worse at this point than having to listen to your date drone on and on about themselves? And, adding insult to injury, they don’t listen they just wait for their turn to talk.
This is what the inside of a journalist’s email inbox looks like.
Hundreds, if not thousands of companies and businesses just talking about themselves.
Both are examples of where people go wrong. Good dates with vibrant conversation naturally give rise to the stories people want to hear, not necessarily the ones our bad date wants to tell.
Journalists are also constantly on the hunt for stories their readers, viewers or listeners want to hear.
You can keeping pitching the stories you want to tell: the new appointments, the product launches or ‘groundbreaking’ projects that no one wants to hear about.
Or you can take a step back and ask yourself: ‘how can I turn this into a story people want to hear?’
Return phone calls
A great date who doesn’t return texts or calls? Well, he quickly gets the bad date moniker quicker than you can say “let’s split the bill”.
But you want to get coverage, right? Plus, you weren’t raised by wolves. You return calls because it’s what someone with good manners does.
No, we’re not suggesting you’d ignore a journalist who’s interested in covering your story.
What consistently drives journalists bonkers is working on a story that needs the gravitas of a subject matter expert, or the humanizing touch of a case study only to discover that the CEO is trekking in the Andes with no phone reception. And the case study can’t be interviewed until days after the press deadline.
Do not, on pain of death, over-promise and under-deliver.
Arrogance is rarely attractive on a date. In fact, war stories from the dating front lines are often littered with tales of out sized egos and out and out bragging.
It’s not hot.
It’s also very rarely welcomed when pitching your story idea to the media. Journalists are not just weary of exaggerated claims like unique, first ever, leading, cutting edge or innovative…they simply don’t believe it.