We are huge fans of the ProfNet service from PR Newswire. By sending daily alerts on media stories in motion, ProfNet eliminates much of the guesswork in pitching a client source to a journalist.
Two variables go a long way toward determining whether your ProfNet effort produces a thought leadership win.
The first can be characterized in one word –
The ability to respond with greyhound-like quickness takes on even more importance when the target happens to be a mainstream media property like the Associated Press:
I’m sure a good 20 or so pitches peppered the journalist within the first hour of the ProfNet landing on subscribers’ doorsteps. By the second hour, 50+ pitches likely crushed her inbox.
Keep in mind that Mendoza is on the hunt for third-party sources that will work with her story – not necessarily the best sources. Once she’s secured enough sources to complete her story, she stops reading.
To twist a Woody line, 50 percent of ProfNet success is simply being first in line (or close to it).
As for the other 50 percent, call it “compelling relevance.”
It’s not enough to just be relevant. Your pitch needs to lead the journalist to conclude that your spokesperson knows the topic, can offer fresh takes from an industry perspective and talks like a human being. If he/she can also offer a privileged window into the topic, all the better.
Mendoza’s AP story on cyberattacks hit the wire last Tuesday (June 4).
I’ve captured the names of the third parties who ended up offering commentary in the story:
- Paul Rosenzweig, former Department of Homeland Security and now with Red Branch Consulting
- Eric Schmidt from Google
- Richard Bejtlich from Mandiant
- Marc Maiffret from BeyondTrust
- Tim Junio from Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation
- James Barnett, former chief of public safety and homeland security for the FCC
The perspectives from Schmidt and Barnett came from previous stories, but there’s logic in assuming the other four sources came from the ProfNet inquiry.
The attribution for each of the four shows how credentials played into “compelling relevance.”
And I’ll bet that each of the four pitches got out the door within the 60-minute window discussed earlier.
We need a phrase that describes what’s between real time and an hour.