The PhoneBoy Blog


Simplifying Telecom, Mobile Phones, Gadgets, and More!

How To Get Me To Write About Your Product

I am starting to get contacted by more and more PR people. They are either sending me press releases that they feel are "related" to my site or think they might be related or asking me to review a product. I think that's kind of cool–to a point. At the end of the day, I write about what I am interested in. Period. End of story.

So how do get my interest? If you're going to send me something to write about, three questions had better be answered in the first paragraph or two to the email you send me: * What is it? * What does it do? * How are you different from the other companies in this exact same space? Or as Andy might put it, what makes it "Me Different?"

Think of this as your elevator pitch. If I'm interested, I'll read the press release. If I'm interested in the product after that, hopefully you've provided me some low or no-cost way of trying it out. I'll give it a go and write about it.

With that in mind, and the fact I will mix in a couple of American baseball metaphors, let's go through the email I got recently:

Today, outsourced VoIP phone system provider M5 Networks announced that Montford, Healy, McGuire & Salley, working with consultant Telesis Communication Services, has chosen M5's outsourced solution for IP phone system services.

The 45-employee law firm specializing in personal injury law replaced its legacy, premises-based Mitel phone system with M5's solution after flood damage to their telecommunications closet resulted in disruption of business operations. The law firm now benefits from M5's private, dedicated and redundant voice and data infrastructure, professional support, business continuity and telecommuting capabilities — all important to the small law firm, allowing Montford, Healy, McGuire & Salley to free up valuable time and resources to focus on the core business.

There was more along with a press release here, but this basically summarizes the entire content of the message. I have an idea of who the company is, what they're selling, and what benefits they provide. But why are you different? After reading the press release, I don't get it. Strike one. More importantly, it's not a product that particularly interests me. Ken Camp might be a better person to contact with this one. Pop-fly, batter out. Next:

While the carriers and some content providers are racing to develop engaging content for mobiles, some consumers are turning to content they already own. Place-shifting technologies such as Orb's MyCasting let consumers take their media (in Orb's case it can be anything from live and recorded TV to simple photos) and stream them to their mobile devices via the Internet. Orb is predicting that even though mobile TV usage rates are low now and some polls say people aren't ready, when the devices and networks catch up, people will stream their content to them.

This guy has a bit of a clue and it is something I'm interested in. First off, the guy asked me if I was interested in this and at least gave me the option of "opting out." Better than most. It covers the main points as well: what it is, what it does. It doesn't necessarily cover "why it's me different." Given that it is a unique product (for now), it doesn't need to.

The press release that came with this explained how 66 million minutes of digital media has been streamed through their free service, and that milestone was reached a mere 19 months after Orb's initial launch.

Okay, that one gets to first base at least. But then I go read the requirements: Windows XP SP2 machines with a 2.4 Ghz Intel or Athlon 3200+ or better. Unfortunately, most of my machines don't meet those requirements. The two machines I do have that meet those requirements are either in use by my wife or have Linux on them. So while I'd like to try this thing out, it's probably not going to happen unless they get a Mac version or someone sends me a really beefy PC. ;)

Last email I got wasn't a press release, but an offer to test drive GotVoice, which is a system to aggregate the calls on your mobile or home voicemail systems into your email inbox. Actually the basic service is free, but they are now offering a premium service they wanted me to try out (for free) and write about. Okay, fine, I'm with that. They've also given me an offer to give a prize for a contest of my choosing that I can host. Home run. Well, except for the fact their "free" service isn't recognizing my phone numbers at the moment. :(


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