You don’t work for us

Do you ever get calls from journalists, feel you have to drop everything and respond? We’re very good at making you feel that way – hey, we earn a living getting our names into print the whole time, what do you think? Of course we can make our lives and jobs sound disproportionately important.

But although I spend a lot of my training sessions persuading people we’re not obliged to carry their marketing messages, that we’re independent people who don’t work for you, there’s another unspoken truth that I’ve put in the headline. You don’t work for us either. Many people behave as if they do, and I wonder how productive it is.

Career interviewees

Since starting in the press in 1989 I’ve come across a number of people who will fall over backwards to help the press and expect nothing in return. You call them, they duck out of a meeting, they give you a quote. It’s brilliant and helpful to me personally.

I always try to push media training candidates to the next level, though. To ask themselves why, specifically, they are involved in a particular engagement. What’s it going to do for your business if you’re marketing to end users and I quote you in, say, Professional Outsourcing Magazine?

There can be numerous reasons to talk to a journalist if you’re in the business world:

  • Thought leadership/awareness of your brand
  • Increase sales
  • Increase likelihood of external investment
  • To build relationships with a particular journalist or publication

I’ve no doubt readers will be able to come up with other examples. If you can’t think of any, though, if there is genuinely no benefit to you, you’re entitled not to take part.

Equally, no matter how pressured I sound, I shouldn’t be piling pressure on you because I’ve left things until the last minute (as if…). If I or one of my colleagues/competition have to have quotes now and won’t give you even five minutes to take stock and ring back, you’re under no obligation to participate.

Have a think, consider what you need to get out of the call and call back, with notes in front of you to make sure you get what you need from the call.

One more time: you don’t work for us any more than we work for you. If we can work together, great – but there isn’t necessarily a match every time.

Hire Guy Clapperton as your media trainer – start by clicking here.

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