CAREERS: Pandora's Problem Page

Q: Help! I'm an in-house PR person for a dot-com (yes, there are

some of us left) and am really running out of ideas for how to get more

ink for our site. Surely there's something I can do to get some

attention?



Ms. S, New York



A: Strip naked and run down Silicon Alley wearing a banner that reads

'Click on (insert site name here) and save my job.'



Maybe you're not quite at that desperate stage yet, but something tells

me it would garner a heck of a lot of press.



But here's a more sensible tip that involves you keeping your clothes

on.



Make sure that the site has good links to the search engine Google. It's

the one that journalists use most often when they're starting their

research for a story. Get listed and chances are the site will be used,

and hopefully quoted, as a resource.



You don't specify the exact nature of the dot-com business you're

working on, but here's a few more ideas that might spark a thought:



1. Is there some low cost form of corporate philanthropy you could

arrange in the name of your client? Something new that could bear its

name. The more original and fun your idea, the more likely it's going to

be covered by the media.



2. Delve a little deeper into what the staff at your client's firm do in

their spare time. You might find some fertile material to publicize,

with a knock-on PR effect for the company.



3. Suggest an informal alliance with a handful of non-competing dot-coms

with complementary businesses, and educate the people at these other

companies about your clients' operations. If you all do the same, each

company will likely end up with more incremental awareness, and you will

have a lot more informal advocates for each dot-com.



Q: I'm an account manager at a small PR agency. My problem is that after

a wave of cost-cutting, our chief executive has said he will take on

part of the media relations work for my account as he has journalism

contacts in that area. Well, he said he would do this, but he just

isn't. Two months on, my client is blaming me for the sharp drop-off in

media coverage.



How can I iron things out with my client, and somehow point out to my

chief executive that he remember to make those calls?



Mr. P, San Francisco



A: It may just be easiest to start making a few calls yourself. But if

you feel like tackling the problem, I'd advocate a subtle approach that

should end up with everybody happy.



Set up a meeting with the client and invite the CEO along. Mention to

your boss that the client wants an update on how the account is

progressing, then ask him if you can get together and talk before the

meeting and go over everything. Hopefully your client will be impressed

with the senior level of attention and your boss will get his act

together.



This is the ideal scenario. But once your boss comes to realize that he

hasn't been paying enough attention to detail, he may enlist your aid in

doing a last-minute media push. Although this will be irritating, the

CEO will remember that you have helped him out if you complete the task

with grace.



Got a problem that no one else can help with? Try Pandora. E-mail her at

pandora@ prweek.com.



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