Only the best Mummies make snails

29th Nov 2009

It’s amazing how much can happen in the space of a month. As I look back over my calendar highlights for November, they include: three new business pitches; pro bono projects for two UK charities and squeezing in a mountain bike skills course in the Lake District (narrowly missing the deluge).

After one new business meeting, I visited one of my closest friends from university who lives just a few miles from the prospect’s office. My visit coincided with her serving lunch to her three year old daughter. I was charmed to see that she had carefully prepared tuna and cucumber swirls which her little girl happily polished off. Commenting on this culinary elegance, I was told that since her daughter loved snails, my friend had taken to preparing her lunch this way so that she could incorporate the most nutritious elements that might otherwise be left on the plate/table/carpet. Coming from an era when you ate what you were given and the most memorable maternal advice on nutrition was to eat your crusts if you wanted curly hair, this level of care and attention is impressive.

I was reminded of this during a prospect meeting last week as I explained that the best route to gaining coverage is to provide information to journalists in the format that works best for their publication and readership. If the journalists haven’t got time to meet for an interview, offer a byline, or a CEO comment on a topical issue. If the journalist doesn’t want to speak to vendors and doesn’t accept pre-written case studies, offer them an interview with one of your customers. If they want it in video format, call in a camera crew.

It’s all about delivering the information that helps journalists to write their story in the format that works best for their publication or website. Sometimes, it’s the same story, told in different ways. An enterprise mobility case study that I pitched was covered in the FT as a business consultancy story; in Service Management as a field service efficiency story; in Computer Weekly as a front page mobile technology story; and in MLogistics as a logistics management story. You can’t force feed the media with the same story in the same format, they have a job to do and you have to help them to do it by tailoring your information to their agenda.

My friend’s care and attention to detail provided a welcome reminder that being creative can make a routine service more enjoyable, as well as being more palatable to the recipient. As I said to my friend’s daughter, “Only the best Mummies make snails you know.”