Chapter 6. Engage the Media at Their Convenience

It was late, and I was ready to call it a day. I thought I'd check email and voice mail one last time before leaving my little office and heading home. The message, from a reporter at BusinessWeek, was short and to the point: "I would like to speak with you about a story I'm doing on Web marketing. Please call as soon as you can."

I knew I should call right away. But it had been a busy week and I was tired. I had a nagging feeling in my gut as I shut my door without having phoned the journalist. I could have called on my mobile driving home (safely, of course, with a headset) or after dinner with my family. Normally I respond to reporters immediately. It's what I do. I don't know what the heck I was thinking.

I called first thing next morning instead.

"I've got everything I need," the BusinessWeek reporter said. "Thanks anyway."

Later on that nagging feeling in my gut returned as I read the reporter's story online. It was great. A story in one of the world's premier business publications about a subject I know a great deal about. It was a story without a quote from me. I could see exactly where my remarks would have been inserted in the text. Instead of my thoughts, there was a juicy quote from someone else.

Damn, I felt foolish.

For days I kicked myself every time I thought about the real-time opportunity I'd squandered. By choosing to return the reporter's call on my time (not his) I was left out of the picture. My voice was not heard. ...

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