Ask and you shall receive
I remember my first year of marriage being one of the more difficult. I can look back and laugh about it now, but at the time, I had a hard time learning how to communicate with my new husband.
For example, when the trash can was full, I just assumed he would take it out. (Sure I could’ve done it myself, but I felt like this fell into husband territory – don’t flame me for my 1950’s interpretation of marriage, I was young!). Anyway, the trash would continue to pile up and I would continue to seethe until finally my anger would inspire my husband to remove the foulness from the kitchen.
Eventually, I learned. When I ask my husband (nicely) to do something around the house, he happily obliges. And likewise, if he needs me to do something for him, I’m more than happy to do it — all he has to do is ask. (We just celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary, BTW!).
We’re not mind readers. We function much better if we just come out and ask for what we want (we may not always get it – but at least the person on the other end doesn’t have to try and interpret silence).
To translate this example into my PR world, I’ve been talking with lots of folks lately about, “The State of the Media Industry.” Things like, “is print dead? Is online where everything’s happening? Does advertising rule editorial content in media coverage? What do journalists even really want from us anymore?”
So, instead of pondering and guessing what my journalist and blogger friends want from PR people, I had the novel idea to actually ask them directly. I sent a survey out and was amazed at the response. More than 40 journalists and bloggers responded with thoughtful answers to my questions.
They were honest, too. Answers to questions like, “How much of your editorial content is driven by advertising decisions?” and “What do you wish PR people did/didn’t do?” were candid and refreshing.
In fact, I received notes from many of the respondents saying, “Thank you for asking us what we really want from companies – we wish more PR people would do this.”
I’m in the process of compiling all of the responses into something I can hopefully share soon. I know we can all learn something from the insight these journalists and bloggers took the time to share. (Names will be withheld out of respect for privacy).
So the next time you’re sitting around the conference room table, brainstorming the next big idea or promotion for your brand’s customers — I have a recommendation for you. Ask them what they’d like to see from you.
I think you’ll be amazed and surprised at how willing people are to share feedback with you — and you might even get your next big a-ha moment from it.