So, now that we can all agree that failure is really a commitment to learning (Part 1) and every PR output can be the beginning of a conversation (Part 2), let’s turn our attention to an often contentious topic: PR reporting. Ah, reporting. Depending on your PR point of view, you probably either LOVE reporting or it’s the bane of […]
In Part 1 of this 3 part series, I poked some serious holes in the myth that it’s not ok for PR to fail. Next, I’d like to have a frank discussion about how PR professionals think about their output. Until fairly recently, most PR teams were mainly responsible for two things: Getting press coverage Covering people’s […]
As the Director of PR Engineering at AirPR, I listen to the voice of our customers every single day and let me tell you, they are an endless source of wisdom and insight! We count ourselves lucky to work with fascinating companies in a wide range of industries. Each is doing super compelling work yet […]
He got his start in entertainment PR, and then migrated to the global agency world as the youngest VP at Hill & Knowlton. He then spent six years as Media Director of Cohn & Wolfe, followed by over a decade as EVP at Burson-Marstellar and a stint as Chief Media Officer at Edelman. Today, Peter Himler is the founder and principal of Flatiron Communications LLC, and one might say he’s learned a thing or two about PR along the way.
“A thing or two” being an obvious, flippant term because the depth of knowledge and insight he holds is [quite possibly] indescribable. His ability to understand and embrace the precepts upon which the PR industry was built while simultaneously accepting its rampant change is refreshing if not vital.
Mr. Himler’s voice is an important one for challenging the PR status quo, and his quest to understand what we were up to (within days of our launch) was simultaneously flattering and frighteningly adept.
We caught up with him over brunch a few weeks ago in New York at what I gathered to be his customary booth at Balthazar in New York’s trendy Soho neighborhood.
This man does not play.
You’ve gotten coverage for clients in virtually every outlet from the New York Times, Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal to TechCrunch, Mashable and PandoDaily. Can you talk a little bit about the types of “stories” those outlets generally publish.
Peter Himler: It’s hard to compare these media outlets. They’re so editorially distinct. Each covers a wide array of people, topics, industries, companies and organizations, except perhaps for TechCrunch, which has maintained a pretty singular focus since its founding. However, within their respective technology news holes, any rumblings from one of the following companies usually gain traction: Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, and Netflix (we should all be so lucky to work at one).
Types of stories include: material news (affecting stock price), new products or services, M&A, litigation, outspoken executives, remarkable growth, strategic partnerships, etc.
How do you tell a client their product is not right for a specific publication they have deemed important? In other words: how do you let them down gently?
PH: Much of what we do is timing and luck. Given the expanded amount of editorial real estate a digital news outlet can offer, I’d be hard-pressed to rule out something outright. Of course, if the publication just did a major feature on my client’s industry or if the publication’s primary competitor recently profiled my client, these would be non-starters.
One question I ask myself: “are you embarrassed to pitch the story or not?” (Does the story fit into the publication’s editorial DNA?) Remember, you’ve got to be in it to win it. The timing may be in your favor. Continue reading…