My kids are on school break this week, so my wife and a friend combined efforts and toured six boys about the Minnesota Zoo. They came at an opportune time: mere minutes after the outdoors birth of a rare baby takin. An amazing site for all assembled. Interesting day for the PR folks, though — they were busy promoting the debut of the zoo’s new baby camel — born last week, but now out for the public to see. My wife noticed some KARE-11 camera people lounging in a golf cart by the camels and said to them, “You know, this takin over there was born, like, 10 minutes ago!” Without another word, they sped off, and no doubt she can take a little bit of credit, at least, for this story and video.
Her experience reminded me of a former client from a number of years ago who created an open-source technology cooperative. The founders, a couple of Minnesota CIOs, were at a conference in San Francisco and ran into Wall Street Journal columnist Lee Gomes in a bar. A few weeks later, there’s an article in Gomes’ Portals column (it’s old or I’d put in a link to the actual story), and I’m working with them to manage follow-on media interest for the next few months.
What is the lesson here? That the best stories often happen by surprise, when the media find you rather than when you find them. Does that mean you wait around for something to happen? Tempting, but no.
Luck happens in PR when:
- You have a great story to tell, and are always ready to tell it. If you have less than a minute to tell someone what you do, and what’s great about your business, can you? What’s you’re “brand” all about? Are your ready?
- The media can find you. You’re website is easy to find, informative, and welcoming to the media. They can find your contact information, and reach you when they’re interested. You’re prominent on key words and have a distinct message.
- You’re out there being successful. You shouldn’t expect much attention from media — new or old — until you’ve have something to show off and some people who’ve tried it out. A little success and a good story can go a long way.
- You’ve been telling you story and selling your story. You’re at conferences. You’re talking to consultants and analysts. You’re meeting with customers, prospects and partners. You’re story is so strong, it gets them talking. You’re sharing news and ideas with media and bloggers who care about the types of things you’re doing. You’re keeping people up the date via your website, blog, newsletters, news releases.
You never know what’s going to happen — there you are talking about a plain ‘ol camel, and who knows — you may just give birth to a takin…