Learning the lingo of the placement dance

Next to being hired, one of the most exciting moments in a rookie account executive's career is the first time an editor or producer says, "Sure, I'll use it." And one of the most disappointing is when the "hit" doesn't materialize.

Next to being hired, one of the most exciting moments in a rookie account executive's career is the first time an editor or producer says, “Sure, I'll use it.”  And one of the most disappointing is when the “hit” doesn't materialize.

As a former journalist and editor, who received many PR pitches, I always cautioned young account executives that a “yes” doesn't always mean a “yes” in the pitch and catch game of placing a story. 

As in many businesses, there are code phrases. Newcomers have to learn them when dealing with the media. Learning the code lingo of the placement dance is necessary to know when a “yes” means “yes,” and when it might mean “maybe,” or “no.”

So to all who are new to the race for space, here are a few examples of media lingo to help you better understand the code, in a “What They Say, What They Mean” format.

Media Code:  Sounds good, can't talk now.

Likely Meaning: Not interested.

Media Code: I'll have to bring it up at our planning meeting.

 Likely Meaning:  A nice way of saying “no.”

Media Code: Send me an e-mail with a one line summary.

Likely Meaning: Forget about it.

Media Code: Not for me, but I know someone who might be interested.

 Likely Meaning:  This has a good chance of being used.  (But don't spend your bonus check until it actually materializes).

Media Code: Send me more information.

 Likely meaning:  I'm interested.

Media Code: I have enough information; don't send more.

 Likely meaning:  Not a chance to dance.

Media Code:  Send me everything you have.

Likely meaning:  Very interested.  (But don't spend your bonus check until it actually materializes).

Media Code: Call me back at 3 p.m. and we can talk further.  (When you call back there's a new individual on the assignment desk.) 

Likely Meaning:  No code-breaking explanation necessary.

 

Media Code: Interesting, we'll put it in our future's file.

Likely Meaning:  Don't grow old waiting.

Media Code: Why do you think this is a good story?

 Likely Meaning:  Where's the news or feature hook?

Media Code:  I like it but I don't think my supervising producer (or editor) will.

Likely Meaning:  This is not an idea worth bringing up in our planning meeting.

Media Code: I suggest you watch our show or read our newspaper/magazine before calling us again.

 Likely meaning:  You don't have the slightest idea of our needs so stop with the calls.

Media Code:  Send it to me and I'll see that it gets to the proper person.

Likely Meaning:  Don't bother me with this anymore. 

Media Code:  I need your spokesperson for tonight's show or it won't work.

Likely Meaning:  Something has fallen through and they're desperate to fill the segment.

Media Code:  Send me some tape showing how your client answers questions.

Likely Meaning:  Get ready to celebrate.  (But don't spend your bonus check until it actually materializes).

Suggestion: Do your media homework before pitching and you may get a chance to dance instead of a media code reply.

 PR consultant Arthur Solomon, a former journalist and Burson-Marsteller Senior VP, can be reached at 914-472-6598 or arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com.

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