Last week I received an email from someone at a well known international PR company asking me to help promote an event next week for one of their clients – a local marketing association (names of both organizations have been withheld to help disguise their shortsightedness – although if you want to know and ask nicely I’ll probably tell you).

I have helped both the PR company and the marketing association many times over the past 5 years, but am unable to recall one time that either of them did anything nice for me – or even invited me to an event without a price tag.

Still the same, I kept an open mind and asked if they would be willing to give me a media pass to the event so that I could report on it.  The person said she’d have to check with her boss and then the next day said that would not be giving media passes, but that they could offer me their ‘special’ student rate of $99.

Evidently, they don’t place much value on the work they continue ask me to do to help them – and don’t realize that most of media types do not make much money – especially considering the huge number of hours committed each week.  I usually alternate between the emotions of anger and amusement when someone asks to pay so I can help them out.

What was my reaction to this situation?  I asked to be immediately removed from all their media lists and stated that I would never be helping them or their client ever again.  What would you have done?

I love to help people, businesses and organizations, but eventually, as in every successful long term relationship, it eventually has to come back around.  All parties must be willing to help each other.  My suggestions for engaging the media:

1) Invite them to the events you ask them to promote.  They might even give you post event publicity too.

2) Don’t attach a price tag (you probably don’t like to pay to work and the media doesn’t either).

3) If the event includes a meal or food for attendees, don’t withhold it from your media guests – we are people too.  If your budget does not allow for cost of having media attend, simply don’t ask them to – or to promote it.

4) You might want to consider ‘the media” as your partner – and treating them as you’d treat a partner.

5) Go out of your way to connect and develop relationships with media. Do something nice for them – introduce them to someone who can help them, invite them to special events.  Don’t just use them – nobody likes to be used.

Feedback?  I’d love to hear it.

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