I read a delightfully insightful book last year titled The Victorian Internet by Tom Standage. In brief, it was about how slowly news traveled before the dual inventions of the telegraph and transatlantic cable… and how rapidly the same news traveled after those creations. Today, news travels even faster. Much, much faster.

The book served to remind me of the cornerstone of any successful media relationship: follow-up.

If a journalist requests information, you must reply in hours, not days. If you are slow to reply, a journalist has plenty of other sources available and your competitor can end up being featured rather than you.  If an article is to feature several competing companies, the sooner you get your information to the journalist, the more likely that journalist will be to develop the story to include your company, versus the competition.

The same goes for the approval of press releases and PR materials.  PR has to be timely in order to keep up with breaking trends.  In this fast changing world news can become stale and no longer useful in a matter of days. In other words, old news is no longer “news.”  It’s history. Much like the telegraph is today.

by Sara Callahan