For the Love of…ahem…PR
by Lena West (guest blogger)
I am officially off lecture mode and am quickly approaching rant mode, as per my promise last week.
Warning: beware she’s about to blow…
As some of you may or may not know, in addition to being the CEO of a technology consulting company, I am also a writer. I write for some pretty prominent - and some not-so-prominent but utterly fabulous - publications, both online and off. Which means that I'm constantly on the look out for qualified, reputable sources who want to share actionable tidbits without giving too much of a sales pitch for their latest book, program or doo-dad.
In fact, right now, I’m on deadline for 8 (count ‘em 8!) articles…all due before October 1st. So, I AM what you would call media.
By now, everyone knows that you should have some sort of media room or page on your web site – or contact information at the least. Even the newest of newbies knows this. That’s what makes the following two scenarios even more frustrating…
Ticked-Off Situation #1
One of the articles I’m writing covers “Web 2.0” applications (blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc.). I knew who I wanted to talk to about podcasting…a very popular, affordable hosting company that recently launched a service making it easy for small business owners to create and deliver podcasts. Heck, even the CEO of this hosting company has his own podcast! What a cool source, right? Nope.
I went to their web site and searched and searched for contact information. I searched some more for a phone number to the administrative offices, surely I could be directed to the appropriate party if I called the main office?
Ha! There wasn’t even a phone number on their web site. I called their support phone number and waited in queue even! The support rep had no clue on how I could contact the main office -- even AFTER I explained that I was a writer on a deadline looking for an interview. Wow, what a bunch of freakin’ million dollar losers! As luck would have it, their PR agent replied to one of my queries on ProfNet so, I eventually got my interview (which is why I’m not naming names!) but not without a lot of unecessary rigamarole.
Ticked-Off Situation #2
Something similar happened with another popular social media company in the same week! The search for media contact information led me round and round, loop-de-loop, from page to page on their web site. I ended up having to send a blind email with hopes that someone would get back to me in a timely fashion. They did. I set up the interview and asked for a contact number. The date and time of the interview came and went and I had to send another email for a contact phone number -- because they are yet another company with no phone number on their web site! When asked what would be a good time to reschedule the interview, their response was, “We’re on Eastern time.” C’monnnnn, what gives???
What does this have to do with technology? I’ll tell you: The technology is there so USE it! Create a flipin’ media page. Use a tool like LivePerson to field media inquiries. Use a contact form…anything!
How can these companies ever expect to get media coverage if they won’t provide basic contact information on their web site? Am I over-reacting? Is there something I’m missing? Is there any good reason for this complete and utter incompetence? If so, please fill me because as far as I can see, this is just plain stupid.
And, breathe. Ok, I feel better now.