Good public relations management practices: Granting an Exclusive?
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Some publications want exclusive editorial rights to your company’s new products so they can claim to be the most important and current periodical. They will repay you with special coverage and treatment that may include a cover story and photographs of you, your product or your facilities. This high level of exposure can be a great springboard for promoting your product.
To arrange an exclusive, call your contact at a monthly publication at least six months in advance of the announced shipping date of your product. This will give the editor time to coordinate editorial coverage. If you are granting the exclusive to a weekly publication, call them about six weeks ahead of the
These publications will be willing to sign non-disclosure agreements that prohibit them from revealing the information before the agreed upon date. Having said that, you must deal with the problem of publications that have long lead times (three months), and those that publish information daily and weekly. Davidson & Associates, a software games publisher, solves this problem by placing a non-disclosure advisory at the top of its press release (see example).
Some publications do not work with exclusives. When reporters find news, they print it. They live in mortal fear that another publication will find out about the news and print it before they can. Ask the reporter if they will respect your wishes before you disclose any information. There’s no such thing as “off the record” once you’ve said something. Avoid saying anything off the record – some reporters don’t honor this, and some forget what was said on the record and off the record. Some spokespersons and reporters play games within the boundaries of acceptable behavior when they allow comments to be attributed to “a company spokesperson” or “a source close to the company.” This tactic has little place in product or event publicity. Information should be open and honest or not told at all.