Three Tactical Analyst/Blogger/Influencer Relations Engagement Tips

I used to write from time-to-time on the ways that the provider community can get the attention of the more busy (and senior) bloggers and analysts. Many of these approaches are now old hat (e.g., focus on conversations outside of formal briefings, get to know the person, comment on their work by showing you've really read it and you have an alternative view). But more recently, I've come across the same mistakes again and again from providers looking to gain coverage for news, products and related announcements -- or simply to get on our general radar.

These are simple mistakes that come from a mismatch of who is sending out the news (typically a PR or AR person who does not travel that much) and the life of the busy analyst. And they're easy to fix. So here goes:

  1. Please, please don't send links in emails to news, websites, videos, etc. (at least not alone). Actions such as this assume the analyst has time in the office to actually read/watch them in the office. I personally do most of my work on flights and because the two airlines I fly most don't have WIFI, I need emails and attachments. If you must send a link to a high-bandwidth link (e.g., a video) also send supporting information that can be referenced in an email attachment.
  2. Don't assume that analysts and bloggers are around to respond to news that day. Within a few months this fall, I'll fly over 35,000 miles. Unless someone pre-briefs us on news (especially product news) and allows the time for demonstrations and can provide customer references, it will go to the bottom of the stack for detailed coverage (or coverage at all); of course we'll always make the effort to cover M&A deals and the like, but last week, I was not around to cover the Ariba and Endeca deals as they happened (and the latter deal was actually quite important).
  3. Invest in face-time (not the kind Apple has trademarked, mind you). However useful phone interactions can be (even with Skype video) both parties benefit so much more from a relationship when they can get together face-to-face as often as possible. I think in the virtual world we live in, that old school interactions are becoming more and more important. If you're a small (or large) provider looking for honest coverage and/or feedback and input, prioritize the time to get to the city where the influencer you're looking to meet is (don't assume they'll have meaningful time at events -- but that's another story).

- Jason Busch

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