Once you have story ideas rolling in from the field, and you’ve decided which ones you’d like to pursue, it’s time to assign a writer and a photographer. There are a few options you can consider in choosing a writer and photographer, and we’ll discuss those in another post. But for now, we’ll assume those choices have been made.
I asked Sara Schmuck, the managing editor of our client publications, to share a basic checklist for those of you that may not currently have a set process for your job-story program. When you look at the list, you may just nod your head and say, “Common sense,” but I can assure you that every one of these steps has been missed by some marketing manager at some point in time, and the result has been the birth of a self-reproducing headache factory all his or her own.
Here is your basic checklist:
1. Well ahead of time, set up a specific date and time for writer and photographer to be on the job site. This should be agreed to by the salesman and the company being featured so that there are no last-minute surprises. Make arrangements to interview key people on the job site or via telephone before or after the job site visit.
2. After the job-site visit and interviews, the writer will write up the draft, and submit the first draft to you.
3. After you have made your edits, and the writer has tweaked the revision based on those edits, only then submit the revised draft to the other stakeholders, such as the dealer, contractor, etc.
4. Make sure you get formal approval to use customer information/photos for marketing purposes. And document that approval.
5. Submit the final story to an appropriate trade journal. (Be aware of the magazine’s publication rights’ expectations.)
6. Maximize the exposure for your story. Publish it on your website and in appropriate marketing collateral material in full or abridged versions.
Of course, each of the items on Sara’s checklist could be the subject of a full blog post or article all its own, but this skeleton outline should provide you with the structure you need to execute your job-story program.
Matt Fueston is an Account Manager for Ellenbecker Communications, is responsible for new business development, and contributes as a staff writer. He believes in the intersection between Sales and Marketing.