Don Fluckinger knows what it’s like to be on both sides of the fence. Most of his 30+-year career has been spent as a journalist, but for two years Don ventured into the world of PR, writing client content for MSL. During that time, Don and Look Left’s Davida Dinerman were colleagues and worked together on a number of projects.
Today, he serves as a senior news writer for Tech Target’s SearchCustomerExperience property, covering CX management. On the Look Left @ Marketing Podcast, Don and Davida dig into changes in journalism, covering trade shows, his love for cast iron skillets and barbecue, and an interesting anecdote about the J. Geils Band. Conversation highlights include:
- Don’s belief that the internet—for better or worse—prohibits long-form pieces many journalists would prefer to write: “The 4,000-, 5,000-word feature is not really wanted by the readers. The readers who are using the technology don’t have 35 minutes to digest a 20-sourced feature on the comparative merits of one technology versus another. Although that information is highly desired, they just don’t have time on their lunch breaks or when they’re on their phone or in between meetings.”
- How he decides whom he wants to talk to at in-person trade shows and conferences: “I usually sort by whoever’s offering a customer. Of all the hundreds of emails you get, you look at what are interesting sources. And then sometimes there are multiple sources talking about the same topic, and there you see a thread that might lend itself to a longer feature. Maybe you look at the program and there’s a session dealing with the same topic, and you have five or six sources right there, pretty easy to assemble. Then your job as a writer becomes connecting the dots and making one perspective flowing to the next.”
- Finding creative ways to connect journalists and executives at virtual conferences: “(At one conference) I could talk to the speaker on a Slack channel. That might be the most innovative thing that I’ve seen in the virtual shows that I’ve attended in the last year. It’s impossible to talk to users or speakers at virtual shows, and that was one time when I was able to do that.”
- Don’s stint as a PR pro: “It was a lot harder than I imagined. I thought I would just buddy up to people who I knew from trade shows, and say, ‘Hey, I got something for you,’ and they’d be like, ‘Yeah, I remember you from HIMSS!’ That didn’t happen. But I was able to speak (to reporters) in terms of deadlines or what they wanted almost peer-to-peer, so I was able to get more information about what they were working on and how the clients we were working with might fit into their flow.”