It was a night of swashbuckling fun, complete with a pirate treasure game, foods of the Mediterranean and Caribbean seas, and even a special “Pirate’s Pleasure” drink made with Goldschlager, triple sec and rum.
It was The Business Journal’s annual Book of Lists bash at a downtown Milwaukee hotel on January 20, in honor of the several hundred people whose companies and organizations made it into the giant Book of Lists. The book, published every January, includes dozens of lists, from the biggest banks and hospitals to the largest non-profits and the top residential real estate teams. Rankings are determined by criteria such as revenues, profitability and the number of employees.
I was a guest because I’m a member of the Summit Group, a consulting firm that has been in the Book of Lists for the last several years.
The newspaper goes all-out for this invitation-only event. Captain Hook andhis band of pirates, all in costume, greeted guests and posed for photos. Grazing stations throughout the ballroom featured whole tuna loin in bananaleaf, jerk chicken skewers, assorted dim sum, and Malay lamb chops. A jumbo shrimp display sat under a giant ice carving of–of course–a pirate ship.
It was the ultimate schmooze-fest, a chance to mingle with the editors and reporters. And it reminded me that similar Book of Lists parties are being held right now in more than 40 other cities throughout the U.S. where business journals are published. If you’re attending one of the parties, a few reminders:
–If you plan on talking to any of the newspaper’s staff, go easy on the booze. Smart sources never imbibe if they’re going to be talking to reporters because loose lips sink ships. And tipsy Publicity Hounds just might fall overboard.
–This is not the time to pitch stories. The reporters have drinks in their hands, not notebooks. So don’t prattle on about your company’s fourth-quarter earnings and expect them to remember it tomorrow morning. Introduce yourself, make small talk, then ask if you can call them later in the week to suggest a few story ideas they might be interested in.
–Be respectful of their time. If you find yourself talking to an editor who acts like he needs to move on after just a few minutes with you, don’t block his escape route. He simply needs to mingle. So don’t take it personally.
If your organization isn’t included in the Book of Lists, find out why by contacting your advertising representative. When I worked at The BusinessJournal, I was told that some companies never make it onto the list simply because they fail to complete and return the The Book of Lists form thatthe newspaper sends to them each year so it can compile information for thelist rankings.
If you can’t attend the party, you can still get your story into a businessjournal. Paul Furiga, former editor of the Pittsburgh Business Times, teamed up with me for an hour-long teleseminar called “How to Use Business Journals to Tell Your Story.” Learn why placing a story in these newspapers is often more valuable than getting into the business section of your local metro newspaper. Read about what else you’ll learn from this CD or electronic transcript that you can download and be reading in minutes.