By Harrison Metzger

(Photo Credit: Nicola Romagna)

Wasabi recently landed a placement in Fast Company, a major business publication read by top C-suite leaders and decision-makers, for our longtime client Landmark. The placement came from an incoming lead via ProfNet, and as is so often the case, was the result of two factors coming together in synchronicity: compelling content that was a match for the reporter’s needs, and a fast turnaround.

Anyone in PR who goes through incoming leads each day, and there must be thousands of us, knows that landing coveted logo-branded placements such as Fast Company can seem like a game of chance. Often you may read through hundreds of reporter queries from everyone from bloggers to hard news media, searching for the one that matches your clients’ expertise. Of course it helps to have a diverse stable of clients and experts, such as we do at Wasabi. At the same time, being a “boutique” PR firm, we are intimately familiar with our clients’ content. So when I spotted the word “gossip” in a morning ProfNet feed from noted business writer Stephanie Vozza, a light bulb went off in my previously sleepy head. Stephanie’s query read:

“I’m looking for an expert who can talk about the benefits of gossip. Recent studies suggest that gossip helps establish social norms, for example. Are there other good things about gossip? Please send a sample of your thoughts in your email. I will need to schedule an interview before EOD Monday, March 2.”

Gossip? I remembered that we had content on the very topic of how gossip can sometimes be beneficial from Landmark (a world leader in professional and personal development that’s had more than 2.2 million people use its programs to cause breakthroughs in their personal lives and communities). I went immediately to our Online Presskit 24/7 database to search this topic, and found a pitch written by Executive Publicist and Chief Creative Officer Michelle Tennant Nicholson. Bingo, our pitch cited recent research, which I included as an embedded link in my new pitch, along with links to our client’s previous interviews on this topic:

“Hi Stephanie,
I saw your ProfNet query and it brought to mind a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that found gossip helps maintain social order by keeping bad behavior in check and preventing exploitation (see article here). We can put you in touch with several nationally recognized communication experts who can discuss “how to turn gossip into gold.”

I copied Michelle. Exactly 10 minutes later, the ever-email-vigilant Michelle responded with a follow-up email offering the client’s expert points in the form of a bylined article “just in case you don’t have time to watch the clips Harrison sent over.” Five minutes later, Stephanie responded: “This is great. Are either Deborah or David available for a phone call tomorrow or Monday?” Just like that.

Michelle then stepped in to work with Stephanie and our clients to arrange the interview. The result: a great interview featuring Landmark Communications Expert Deborah Beroset in Stephanie’s article Five Hidden Benefits of Gossip.

There you have it. So when you scroll through those incoming leads, trying to keep your eyes from glazing over from the reams of requests that don’t match your clients’ needs, be prepared for that hidden nugget of gold that will land in your lap. When you have solid content that matches the journalist’s needs, respond IMMEDIATELY. If you are really fortunate, you may have a team like we do that constantly monitors email and is ready, as Michelle was, to tag-team a reporter’s request and follow it through to completion.

About the Author: After earning a communications degree at Georgia State University, Harrison Metzger worked 22 years as an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor before joining Wasabi in 2009 as Senior Writer & Editor. He loves spending time with his wife and two daughters, and canoeing, biking, and exploring in the mountains of Western North Carolina and beyond.