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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Nick's tip: Make the most of your multiple-award contract announcement

As you can imagine, I get lots of press releases, and we use them a lot for contract awards, personnel announcements and news on acquisitions.

We’re also trying our best to track the government sites that announce contract awards such as FedBizOpps.gov and Defense.gov so we can get that news out as quickly as possible.

But here is the dilemma: often we’ll write a story based on information from the government site, and then over the next month or so, press releases from the individual companies will trickle in. I understand why this happens: a combination internal company processes and customer approvals.

Generally, these releases are not newsworthy to me because they say very little beyond that the company won and we’ve already had that. What I try to do is reach out to the company sending the release and nicely explain that we’ve already written about the contract and I need something new and fresh to add so that I can write about the win.

Nine times out of 10, I’m going to ask for a list of teammates on the contract. This is the kind of information people are always telling me they want.

This happened just last week. I received an announcement from Sotera Defense Solutions about them winning a spot on a $7 billion Army contract. Something they are rightfully proud of.

However, about a month earlier we had already written about the winners, including Sotera. So I gave my, I-need-something-fresh response and they came through with their teammates. It took about a day to get the info together, which worked fine for me.

As a bonus, they also included a tidbit of information about how the win was helped because they acquired a company called Potomac Fusion earlier in the year where they picked up some added capabilities.

The combination of the teammates and the connection back to an earlier news event is gold for me. It is information that is valuable to my readers and connects the dots for people on what Sotera is doing.

Today that story is the second most visited story on our web page, and it didn’t take that much more effort on my part, and probably not much more effort on Sotera’s part, though I haven't asked.

Providing that kind of information is a great way to make your company stand out in a very crowded market.

Contrast that with an announcement I got from a large company that had won a spot on a different multiple-award contract. I asked the same question and then I had to wait more than 24 hours for the response that basically said: “Our team is comprised of leading companies in the field.”

Really? Of course, your team is made up of leading companies. I asked again, Can you tell me their names? And I never heard back from the company.

I understand enough about the market to know that I always won’t get the names of teammates, and I hear "No" plenty of times. Just be up front about it and tell me. It won’t hurt my feelings. But do consider offering that extra information, as it might just benefit you more than you might think.


Posted by Nick Wakeman on Oct 22, 2012 at 9:53 AM

Reader Comments

Fri, Oct 26, 2012 Monica Martinez

Just wanted to thank you for these tips, Nick! Always helpful to get that kind of feedback/insight as to how we help you all do your jobs better and keep your readers interested.

Tue, Oct 23, 2012 SPMayor Summit Point, WV

It should come as no suprise that industry particularly large firms are as bureaucratic as the governments they support and service. For me it was an eye-opening experience to move from Government to industry and see some of the same traits so roundly criticized in the press and in public forums being exhibited by industry. The hesitancy of industry to share information can viewed as a parallel to the poor debriefingsprovided by the Government. In an age of transparency and information sharing we all continue to exhibit the cloistered minds and attitudes of the past.

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