The Great PR Debate: ...


I met a colleague, Jane Wang, for a cup of coffee at Roy’s last week.

Once and for all, she puts an end to the great debate of what’s more valuable in media relations, a flush Rolodex or great content (storytelling).

Before going further, it occurred to me that the under-40 crowd might not have heard of a Rolodex, so I’ve dropped in a photo and explanation below:


Think of the Rolodex as a metaphor for knowing a ton of journalists.

Back to Jane Wang and her communications career –

A China-born American, she worked in Silicon Valley for 10 years before Fleischman-Hillard’s China operation recruited her to run its tech practice. Later, she took a role as a marketing lead for Accenture in Greater China before returning to the United States last year.

Here’s the part of the story that takes an interesting zag. Jane picked up a consulting gig with Hanhai zPark with the primary goal of cracking the U.S. business media. When I asked her how things have been going, she pointed me to the Businessweek feature that just appeared on the client.

BusinessWeek - Chinese Business Incubators

I asked her if she knew John Tozzi, the journalist at Businessweek who penned the piece before she reached out to him .


It turns out that she did her homework on the media property, identified potential “doors” which led to Tozzi, studied his previous stories, and packaged the client’s story to align with Tozzi’s interests.

Once Businessweek expressed interest, it became a matter of lining up the right client sources for interviews, tying up loose ends and the standard tenacity to push to the finish line.

And voilà – a 694-word feature in Businessweek.

Case closed.

Content (with proper homework) beats relationships every time.

And yes, it can be helpful to have both.

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