Companies have been hiring ex-journalists for years as PR people because they knew how to tell a story and how to work with their fellow ink-stained wretches. (For those old enough to remember ink.)

Marketing automation vendor Eloqua has gone a step further and hired Jesse Noyes, formerly a business reporter for the Boston Herald, as a “corporate reporter.” His goal, he says, is “to drill down within the company and the industry to find the stories that too often go untold. I will profile brands and the people that work for them. And I will attempt to explain game-changing trends as they happen.”

Good for Eloqua for recognizing that “old school” journalistic qualities such as fairness, thoroughness, and clarity are more important than ever, and can be found in professional reporters. And good for Jesse for riding the wave that has made every vendor a publisher who needs to tell their own story.

However, as someone who does his own share of “corporate reporting” for IT vendors, here are three tough moments I predict Jesse – or any corporate reporter — will face. When they come up, how should Eloqua respond? How would you respond?

  1. I found a really, really smart customer doing some leading-edge marketing automation –       but with a competitor’s product. Can I write the story?
  2.  I need the CEO or CTO to respond honestly and thoughtfully to a big announcement, but they’re busy talking to customers. Who will shake them loose so they can talk to me, and when? 
  3. Marketing complains my last story focused too much on the problems customers are facing, and want me to “take a more positive tone.” I’m reporting what I’m seeing in the marketplace. Exactly how brutally honest do you want me to be in my writing?

There are no easy answers to questions like these, but having even rough guidelines will be critical to making your “corporate reporter” successful. I (of course!) have ideas on my own, but am curious to hear yours first…

Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

Gotten a pitch to attend a conference or trade show lately? Did you decide to spend the money, or ditch it and stay in the office? It’s tough to get people to part with their money, or their time, to attend conferences these days. But one way to do it is to give them a sample of what they’d get if they attended.

 

A recent email from the SAP Insider trade pub for their Administrator and Infrastructure Conference  did a good job of doing exactly that. After a brief introductory paragraph or two, it provides a teaser list of six tips (each of which is actually a “best practices”) that was presented during earlier conferences. They are:

  • Tip 1 – 10-step guide to integrate SAP NetWeaver BW and SAP BusinessObjects security
  • Tip 2 – Technical prerequisites for your SAP enhancement package implementation project
  • Tip 3 – Tips for working with SAP NetWeaver variables in Crystal Reports
  • Tip 4 – 19 guidelines for avoiding common pitfalls during your next SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse upgrade project
  • Tip 5 – How to understand the difference between centralized, distributed, and autonomous data governance models, and
  • Tip 6 – 10 best practices for building Xcelsius dashboards

You don’t have to be an SAP expert to see that each tip is specific and technical enough to show the prospect the type of nitty-gritty value they’d get from the conference. By tracking which newsletter recipients click through to which tip (yes, the prospect has to give up their contact info to get the tip) SAP Insider (or a sponsor) can infer what products each prospect is using, and what challenges they’re facing. So even if you don’t get the prospect for the conference, you might have a lead for a product or service sale.

 

It’s a great example of “selling by offering value,” using valuable content that already exists from previous events. What great, usable content is sitting around your organization you could be using to attract conference attendees – or sales leads?

Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.