Today I invited one of the most famous Spanish journalists — Jose Mendiola who writes for the national newspaper and also tech magazines in Spain such as — El Pais, Digital Trends, previously for AppleSfera, Engadget and El Huffington Post.
We had a chance to cooperate when I was launching one of my products into the Spanish market. Today Jose will unleash some of his magical insights connected with Public Relations and making valuable connections. Everything from a journalist’s perspective!
Building relationship with the media and journalists in your business niche is not only an extra way to build brand awareness, it’s also a way to attract new, potential customers. For small business with a limited marketing budget, PR is one of the best ways to get your business noticed. In fact, you can get results without spending a lot of money.
Angie: Jose, let’s start with a typical, but really important question! How many emails per day do you usually get?
Jose: I couldn’t tell a closed number but on a daily basis I receive an average of 20 to 50 PR mails.
Angie: What are the best days to contact journalists? I suppose Mondays and Fridays are the worst.
Jose: Fridays are by far the worst; it’s highly probable that you forget on Monday what was proposed before the weekend. But beyond the day itself, to me it’s more important the how: I normally don’t go beyond the first line on not personalized mails. My brain says “that’s not for you” and just skip it. There are a tonne of mails awaiting that have “Jose” on the first line. It’s not a question of egos, is just that we are humans!
Angie: Does the time of the day matter as well? What’s your routine while checking out your inbox?
Jose: To be 100% honest, all the PR mails go to a certain folder and I don’t even get a push notification for them. That folder I normally check, once per day (during the evenings). I know it’s a radical decision but it is the only way, I have found to separate what’s important and what’s not on a PR. The price paid, on the contrary, is that I normally arrive late to the urgent mails, like confirmation on trips, but it’s my best solution. I bulk delete as well.
Angie: It’s super difficult to stand out from the crowd in the startup world. There are so many products, ideas so… what would you recommend in case of contacting the press?
Jose: Being a journalist on the tech area bring us a lot of perspective, and I think that has a lot of value. I bite the tongue so many times… but I know by heart that a certain project or idea is DOA (dead on arrival) because I already know of many apps and services which already cover that need. The few times I have expressed my opinion I am ignored because normally the entrepreneur is blind with enthusiasm, and just moves on (which is good, of course, because we are not always right).
Angie: If you could tell me what’s your favourite email template/example you relatively like to get?
Jose: I don’t really mind about templates, what I love is personal interaction. I have a great feeling with a high end PR person that works on huge agency full of templates, but I also have the same good vibes with a Chinese marketing person who doesn’t use templates at all (just plain text). The common base on both is that they have somehow been so nice and responsive and cared on personalized emails that I always take my time and read what they propose and of course, reply them (bear in mind that we receive a tone of mails during the week).
Angie: Do you have some phrases and buzzwords that you don’t like when people use in emails?
Jose: Sure, I won’t tell them here not to offend! but of course, there are some PR that use the same cold template over and over with a cold and automatized hello, which is always the same (even several times a day). I just don’t stand that.
Angie: Let’s say that a startup or a product already had some publications. Are you willing to write about them despite of the fact that they were already featured somewhere else? Or you prefer to be the first one? I read recently something from one of the journalists and he said that if he reads such thing he asked himself “so, why should I write about you again?”. What’s your opinion about that?
Jose: I don’t mind writing again about something already covered because I know each media has its own readers, and anyhow they somehow prefer how you tell the story. Having said that, of course I always love to be the first in covering a scoop!
Angie: As we can see in social media world, the importance of video will be crucial this year. It’s getting more valuable and attractive for consumers as well as entrepreneurs. As you mentioned before we all seek more human touch in everyday interactions, in public and media relations as well. Have you ever got a video pitch from someone? Do you think that in the future it will be replaced with regular e-mails?
Jose: I hope not! Just kidding. The idea of receiving a video call regarding a press release seems to me a bit invading (as a cold phone call), but getting a personalized video sent to you looks great though.
Angie: What are your thoughts about being pitched via Social Media? Is that fine, or it too much for you?
Jose: It’s fine for me as long as afterwards we change to email, a place that I control better.
Angie: Where do you usually look for information and inspiration about new products, startups, topics for articles? I suppose that Product Hunt is probably one of the source you use. Where startups should be submitted to reach your attention?
Jose: I normally get information following trends on social network, RSS feeds and news readers. There are some sites that most of the times get the scoop fastest and other sites that are well known for quality of information; I combine both.
Thank you very much that you have found enough time for me! Thanks a lot also for sharing your perspective and journalist’s insights. I’m sure it will help many indie makers and entrepreneurs to start their journey with media relations. In the next article, I will focus mainly on tips and tools on how to contact the press and influential people without much budget. Stay tuned!
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