Journalism and Marketing 101

By Neil Sandler

You and your company almost certainly have numerous opportunities to promote your good works, but most of you just don’t seem to know it.

A couple of months ago, I was asked to participate in a panel discussion entitled “Dealing with the Media: How Can Your Firm Work with the Media and Trade Press.”

Professional Surveyor Magazine, like all other publications, thrives on providing its readers with compelling, informative, and educational articles. We are continually on the prowl for stories that fill this profile.  As a journalist with some 40 years of experience, I can all but promise you that each one of you and the company or organization you represent have at least one, if not a basketful, of such stories.  But most of you don’t realize it.

At almost every event I attend I have numerous opportunities, usually while chomping down breakfast, lunch, or dinner, to ask my tablemates, “So, what’s new in your world?”  I venture to estimate that 90% of the time the reply is one version of “Nothing new” or “Same old, same old …” But, inevitably, after spending a few minutes engaging the people at my table in some good old-fashioned journalistic research (i.e. gabbing), I uncover a story that amazes me in that the person I am speaking with is sitting on a journalist’s goldmine yet seems clueless about it.

Three cover stories come to mind. Several years back, when my New York Yankees were in the thick of a pennant run, I mentioned to one New York surveyor who was standing at our booth at an ACSM annual meeting that I am a Yankee baseball fan. He mentioned, almost in passing, that the Yanks have an unfair home field advantage when playing at Yankee stadium because the field is crested and it’s hard to see first base from the visitor’s dugout.  “I know,” he boasted. “We surveyed the field.” Cover story.

Another time at a Trimble Dimensions conference, someone mentioned that one of the leaders of the Chilean mining disaster rescue was a surveyor who worked for a company that bought Trimble products.  Cover story.

A year ago, right after a fall MAPPS conference, Ken Scruggs, president of Midwest Aerial, pulled me aside to show me some incredible aerial shots taken after the sun had set.  It turns that through experimentation and questioning the conventional wisdom about shooting at that time of day, Midwest opened up the window of shooting opportunity not just after the sun had set but also during cloudy days.  Cover story.

My point is simple.  Chances are if you are reading this you have a career far more interesting than you realize, and if you wish to get the word out there is no better way than through the news/trade press media. 

Yes, we want your stories at the national level, but don’t discount your local media. Your local newspaper’s business reporter (both online and in print) is always looking for interesting local business stories but would never think of calling a surveying company for a story idea.  Take the initiative to call this reporter and pitch your story.  I’m betting they will love it.  Try it and let me know how things work out.  And try us, too!

Editor’s Note: As the industry showcases its best from around the world at Intergeo this month, we hope you enjoy the international focus of this issue.

» Back to our October 2012 Issue