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What Won’t Get Coverage for Your Utility

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Andy Gotlieb's picture
Editor of a specialty publication, former public relations practitioner Freelancer

I hold 34 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too.  The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various...

  • Member since 2016
  • 1,004 items added with 507,564 views
  • Sep 14, 2022
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When I checked my work email this morning at my newspaper job, I had an email from a proud attorney who had written his first novel and wanted me to do a story about it.

Later that day, I got an email from another guy who had written a book and was seeking publicity.

By lunchtime, I had a third.

Sad to say, none of these people are getting a story in my paper.

Why, you may ask? Well, remember how “dog bites man” isn’t news, but “man bites dog” might be? Same principle here – so many people write books that it’s not noteworthy. Maybe if they outsell Stephen King I’ll reconsider.

This anecdote has meaning for your utility because there’s a good chance you’re pitching the wrong things Granted, pitching is akin to sales cold calls – meaning your success rate will be low – but there are some things you shouldn’t bother with to start.

Some examples:

--- Awards. Maybe the trade press might care, but unless someone at your company has won a Nobel Prize, a Pulitzer Prize or an Emmy, nobody will care.

--- Things you do all the time. If you have a team that regularly visits schools to teach about how electricity is created and how it is transmitted. That’s routine and not newsworthy.

--- Personnel announcements. The only exceptions are when you hire a new CEO or if someone you hire is famous for some other reason. If Tom Brady finally retires from football and joins your utility, have at it.

--- Things that were recently reported on and featured your utility. Don’t get greedy and try to recycle the same pitch or a slightly altered version of it.

--- Pitches that are stretches into other news. This might include trying to tie your utility into “National Grilled Cheese Day” or the multitude of phony holidays and months that have befallen us.

--- Things that everyone else does. Sounds intuitive, but plenty of organizations think their version of something is better than the others.

Andy Gotlieb's picture
Thank Andy for the Post!
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