Tip #164: Whiners never whin

As much as I like hearing from the people who make products directly, if you can’t use nice words, have your babysitter — sorry, I mean PR person — contact me instead.

Rafe,

I’ve been assuming that you didn’t cover the email industry because I sent you emails about [our product] with no response. Now I just read your article touting [other products] while ignoring [my product] completely. [etc…]

Do you also report on [this other field]? Our mother company has a better [thing in that field] than [competitors]. I hope that you won’t write a big article about [the other field] that touts only [competitors] as if we never existed.

Please take notice.

It is true that the author of this e-mail, Kvetch McCranklestein (not his real name), did have a point. I glossed over e-mails he sent me in the past and didn’t cover his product. But this is so not the way to make things right when that happens. And it happens all the time. The thing is, even when you’re wronged by the press, it’s rarely in your interest to be snippy with a writer. Remember what your strategic goal is: To get known and then covered by someone who’s disposed to like your product. When you complain like this, you just give writers reasons to look for excuses to not cover you.

In the case of McCranklestein, I actually e-mailed him back, at first admonishing him for his tone. We eventually had a civil and forthright e-mail conversation about how things like this happen. It felt pretty positive.

But I still haven’t covered the product.

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3 Comments

Filed under Common sense, Email

3 responses to “Tip #164: Whiners never whin

  1. Karen

    Nice one! This goes for every professional contact, and probably personal ones too. Don’t be an irritating jerk when you want something from someone.

  2. Sarah

    Here, here, Karen.

    It goes back to Robert Fulghum. Everything you really need to know you really DID learn in kindergarten. I’m a PR professional and this made me blush for my profession. There are such better ways to address this situation, which happens to 99% of companies at some point, all of which begin with the words “sincere” and “nice”.

  3. was just clicking through archive tips and had to stop to comment on this one. These types of executives are an absolute nightmare. Having worked predominantly in the start-up tech scene I can attest that they likely, if they have one, tear their PR rep a new one. I was once berated by an executive because Brad Stone chose not to include a company in an article. These are the same types of executives that within 2 weeks of starting their contract want to know why you can’t “call in a favor” to get coverage for them. Sad state of affairs.

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