Four Hours of Axe Sharpening

ax-grinding-jigAbraham Lincoln once said, “If you give me six hours to chop down a tree, I’ll spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Wise words that speak to the power of preparation and working smarter, not necessarily harder. I use this quote often when explaining to clients and students that good PR/Marketing is the result of solid preparation. And this is why good PR people are students of the media–always watching and looking for opportunities to help reporters while helping their clients. But you don’t get this deep insight from reading names on an Excel spreadsheet spit out of some database — it only comes from putting in the work. adidas powerlift 3 Or as Abe would call it, sharpening the axe. Four Myths about PR “Axe Sharpening”

  1. If you are “friends” with a reporter, they will cover your clients — Uh, nope. And the way you GET to be friends with reporters is by NOT annoying them with any pitches that don’t help them do their job.
  2. Reporters never stray from their stated “beats” –– While many publications assign beats to make sure everything is covered, plenty of enterprising journalists cover areas outside of their stated “beat” One of the best ways to get a feel for this is to read everything they’ve done for the past six months. The patterns are there if you pull back far enough to see them.
  3. If you’re not on the phone, you’re not pitching media. Wrong. I’ve recently pitched media via e-mail, text message, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and even Google + (I know, amazing). A good PR person will pitch using a carrier pigeon and a note if that’s the preferred method of contact. nike air max flyknit ultra 2.0 That last part is really important — you meet the media where they like to be contacted and it’s their choice.
  4. Media research isn’t billable to clients — Again, that’s like saying the axe sharpening part isn’t part of the tree chopping. They are connected and if you want one to work well, the other must be in place.

It’s just as true today as it was in Abe’s time, preparing well for the job leads to a well-executed job and that’s what we’re all seeking. Don’t settle for PR firms that pull media lists and just pitch anyone, anytime and hope that something sticks. One that goes out and just starts chopping away immediately with any old axe. Find one that will spend four hours (of the six) sharpening that blade until no tree could ever stand in its way. (sorry, Lorax. asics kinsei Trees are awesome by the way!). adidas ultra boost If you need me, I’ll be in the shed sharpening.