The Sweet Smell of Desperation

by Smartie on April 6, 2010

There’s a whole lot of fretting going on right now. I suppose it’s the inevitable by-product of a shitty economy. The media is in an all out fret-frenzy. It’s 24 hours of doom and gloom online, on TV and on good old fashioned print.

I suppose a large part of this is the old adage “if it bleeds it leads.” But I also think we are in a seismic shift in the economy, not to mention the media. itself And when the status quo gets turned up-side-down, it produces a whole lot of hand-wringing. There’s been a lot of media coverage on, well, the media, as they are forced to contend with eroded business models. Journalists are writing passionately about why they should keep their jobs. If only they brought that same passion to the beats they covered…

But that’s another post for a different day. Today, I want to focus on all this fretting.

While the media companies try to figure out what will keep them above water, they focus their energies on the brand names that they think will drive eyeballs. Google, Apple, Avatar. Celebrity sells, whether it’s Brangelina or Wal-Mart, and they will cover it. And that doesn’t leave much room for the little guy.

The sooner we accept this, the better we all will feel. It’s not you, it’s them.

Of course smaller companies should chase major coverage, even now. But think about your tactics before you start a campaign that smacks of desperation. Because desperation often makes people do some ugly things, like telling a few tall tales with the hope that the media will pay a little more attention.

Over the past few weeks, I have been fed a few tall tales from people desperate for press coverage. In two instances I caught the fib before it went any further than my in box. In another case, it wasn’t a fib so much as an ommission of information, which resulted in an egg on my face moment. And that does not make me happy.

The moral of the story is no matter how desperate you feel, don’t resort to a distortion of information just to try to make yourself more press-worthy. This tactic will backfire.

If you find that you are resorting to this, then your story is probably not press worthy in the first place. And by distorting the story to begin with, you clearly already know this.

You may simply need to go back and find another angle. Or you may have to be secure enough to realize that maybe this time the coverage just isn’t in the cards. Maybe your resources are better spent on a strong marketing push.

As long as you stay in business and keep working, there’s always another project that may command press attention. You will have another opportunity.

So don’t start burning bridges (particularly bridges that are not fully errected) by feeding false information.

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April 28, 2010 at 1:31 pm

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