Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Thoughts on how Magazine Editors can better interact with Large Enterprises

In my day job, I tend to get lots of requests from various magazine editors to help them along with a story they may be working on. Some I do with passion, others simply get ignored. Figured I would provide advice to magazine editors on how to better interact with folks in large enterprises...

There is one reporter who passionately pings me yet I tend to ignore 99% of this person's requests. This reporter seems to always want my opinion on some vendor and a reaction to some recently announced strategy. These types of requests get ignored for a variety of reasons. First, most corporations tend to have a media relations policy on not saying anything good or bad about any of their vendors. Second, nine times out of ten these types of interactions are merely seeking soundbites and not insight and therefore becomes a waste of time. Three, enterprise folk usually aren't focused on what vendors are up to but instead are spending time attempting to figure out complex business problems. Fourth, I tend to not really care about commercial software vendors and find most of the time that the better story that usually isn't told lies within the open source community.

Usually when you call up a corporation, you should not only have an idea of who the folks in media relations that you should work with are but also an idea of whom they should arrange a conversation with. The simple fact is that corporations are large and it is almost impossible to take random requests with tight deadlines and figure out who in a corporation has the best thinking on the topic they seek. Before calling, attempt to figure out by searching various conference agendas for speaker's names.

Sometimes schedules don't align so phone calls are sometimes tough to schedule. Consider instead of sending questions you would like answered via email. This allows folks to respond to your requests after hours and do respond in a more thoughtful manner.

Finally, the vast majority of industry analysts tend to participate in stories. If you don't know of an enterprise customer to talk to, you should simply ask one of them to provide you with some leads...

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