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
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
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
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
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
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