I’ve spent much of my morning researching online publications and media kits. I’m working on a couple of projects that let me explore some untapped outlets, and really I do enjoy seeing what’s out there and available in areas I haven’t explored before now. The hard part is making sure I choose the right ones, and that ultimately involves a significant amount of good judgment. That means I have to get my hands around all the information I can, information that makes sense.

Believe it or not, it’s not that easy.

You’d think that an online publisher would want to demonstrate his commitment to online accessibility by providing necessary information online. Apparently, not everyone feels the same way. When I can find media kits, they don’t include rate cards. When I find rate cards, they aren’t linked to circulation demographics or spec requirements. When I find spec info, there’s no contact.

I understand wanting to have a live conversation to try to close the deal, but withholding critical information actually makes me less inclined to want to talk to someone. It seems like a sneaky way to get a foot in the door to deliver a fast-talking sales pitch. I think it would be better for everyone if all the pertinent information were available, so that live contact is based on inquiries that are already self-vetted. Kind of like window shopping before walking into a store. The store gets reasonably serious customers, and the customer knows there’s probably something inside that will interest him.

Here’s the thing. If you want to capture people’s attention–not just anyone’s attention, mind you, but the attention of your desired audience–you have to give them what they need. If you’re an online publisher, for example, show me your media kit, rate card, and how to get in touch with an advertising rep. (Not having contact info on a website is inexcusable in any scenario.) Don’t give me pieces and parts; give me everything relevant.

And oh, by the way, when you DO give me contact information, don’t simply give me a list of people who share the same title. How do I know which one to pick? Give me a clue–list territory, area of specialty, something that points me in the right direction.

Sometimes I think certain companies don’t actually want customers. These are such simple things; why are they so hard to find? All it takes is thinking like a customer.

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