Interview with Steve Strauss

Steve Strauss

We took a few minutes to sit down with one of our favorite journalists, Steve Strauss from USAToday.

Steve, who is often called “the country’s leading small business expert,” is a lawyer, author, and USATODAY.com columnist. His latest book is the Small Business Bible. Steve is also a speaker in high demand who has spoken around the world about entrepreneurship, including at the United Nations. He has been seen on CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, The O’Reilly Factor, and many other shows.

What is the role of a media relations person for today’s journalist?

It is two-fold. Your job is to get your client’s name out there – and if you can help a journalist get their job done easier, then it’s a home run.

What kind of things are you looking for/writing about in the next few months?

I’m always looking for new angles around small business, something that is of general interest to a lot of small business people—something they don’t already know. A unique take or an innovative angle is always much appreciated.

How is the outlook for small business in this economy?

Everyone is past the survival mode they were in for the last two years and now they are figuring out how to grow.

What are your readers challenged by these days?

One issue that keeps coming up is how to manage social media. How much, how to make it pay off, how to make money doing it, etc.

How do you want to receive information?

I hate press releases. In fact, I occasionally give a speech that encourages people not to use a traditional press release. I like email – short, quick and snappy—from someone who knows who I am and what I am about. I’m frustrated by someone who just puts my name on a list. But, if someone knows my beat, that will really pique my interest and then I’m more likely to listen to their pitch. A short, snappy directed email works best for me.

Do you have an example of a good PR pitch?

A former journalist-turned-PR person sent me an inquiry that was just about getting to know what I wanted. No pitch, no client information. Just a basic “what can I do for you” note. That really resonated with me.

An example gone wrong?

Someone asked me to write a story, and I said yes. They provided me with the information and it sat there for a while. I just got busy. I let her know I’d write the story, I just didn’t know when. She wouldn’t stop. I understand follow up, we all have to do it. But there is a line you can’t cross. I wrote the story but I asked her not to contact me anymore.

Persuasive Picks for the week of 02/07/11

Facebook's New Page Layout Facebook Launches Pages Redesign
Get the lowdown on this week’s rollout of Facebook‘s new layout for Pages via this Mashable post from Ben Parr. What does it mean for your brand?

Facebook Page redesign: 10 things admins should do RIGHT NOW
Since this week’s first pick filled you in about all the Facebook Page changes, this post from David Griner on TheSocialPath.com will guide page Admins in the right direction on what key things they should change first.

Marketers use social media for Valentine promotions
Valentine’s Day is upon us and many marketers have turned to social media in order to promote their related brands. USAToday‘s Bruce Horovitz share examples of six brands who are vying for your Valentine’s Day attention in the social space. On a related note, our client Corey McPherson Nash asks your opinion of the new “romantic” messaging from Teleflora, in this “Tired or Tacky Hearts” post.

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Are you still trying to learn the ins and outs of proper etiquette when navigating the social landscape? This post from Peter Shankman provides a good list of DON’Ts to keep you on the right track.

Cyber graffiti with WiFi network names as advertising
Author David Meerman Scott shares this entertaining post on how brands can potentially cash in on some free advertising by leveraging the publicly-broadcast name of their WiFi access points with some creativity.