Musings

The Last Days of the Newspaper Business

I dreamed I was on my bike, delivering the last paper to the final porch and I tossed that rag at least a mile — last dream of a democratic press — and the end of papers fell like a snowflake onto the faded wood planks of my old man’s porch, and he came out in slippers, picked it up, slipped off the rubber band– and the thing exploded with fresh despairs: new Vietnams and Watergates, Mansons and Patty Hearsts, not to mention Andy Capp and Hi and Lois, horoscopes, a Crossword puzzle, box scores — even the obit of my poor mother. And my old man told me not to cry, that even good things die, son, and he folded that paper back up and tucked the only good thing I ever did under his arm, easing back into the warm house of my dead childhood to take his morning shit.

Chapter 7, The Financial Lives of the Poets, a novel by Jess Walter (2009)

PR does not End with the Press Clip

Your company was just quoted in a Forbes article. PR is slapping itself on the back. Marketing posts the clip to the “In the News” website section. Congratulations. If you think that cycle has ended, think again. The last leg is missing. I would say that the majority of companies I’ve worked with miss the opportunity to share in the success. That Forbes article should be shared with all internal employees and well beyond that. It needs to get out into the channel; it needs to be shared with customers, partners and fence-sitting prospects. A good PR clip makes for a great way to follow up with a sales nudge. BTW, FYI. “Check out what our CEO has to say about zero-day exploits.” Using social media to further share the wealth should be second-nature in your organization by this point.

“We are the Leading Provider of ____”

Does anyone ever buy into vendor claims of leadership? Absolutely not. This would be like telling yourself that you are the most beautiful woman in the United States. That is why they run beauty contests. To allow a panel of judges to declare and crown a winner. These judges are just like the market. Only the market can declare a leader. You can’t self-impose leadership status. And the only thing the market cares about is a ‘critical mass’ of installed-base end users. Because that means the company is making money.

The best technology may not win. The nicest blog will not win. What will?  The best lead generation, sales people and reseller channel will win the largest number of customers. Then it is up to marketing/PR to retain those customers and keep them happy. How do you do that? Start with listening to your customers. Collect product improvement feedback, then engineer that back into the product. On the PR front, interview the best customers and capture their stories. These narrative testimonials (aka “customer case studies”) make for the best kind of sales tool literature. They also make for the best pitches.

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