I ran into a friend of mine at BusinessWire earlier today. She’s always so chipper and told me about this great event she went to for networking. So, I asked more and she sent me a few links to Facebook groups that I promptly joined and offered my services as a speaker. A few emails later, I got a question from one guy who wanted to know what my recommendation would be for small Internet startups for engaging and promoting their company at a networking event.

Well, it starts with the pitch. I don’t mean just the basic I work for company X and we do Y. You need something with an edge that not only piques interest, but sparks deeper conversations. Web companies and well anyone who’s pitching business need to be armed with what’s called “issues and experts.”

I like to look at PR differently than pushing a press release, news alert or earnings statements. Granted, press releases and news alerts are necessary. They have their function for launches, announcements and big deals. But when you want to get the word out in a larger feature you have to be proactive and know what’s going on in the industry.

So, I follow a lot of trends. Twittering, Web 2.0, and emerging technologies of course; but there are lot of other things I read.

Here’s an example. One of our clients has created an amazing Web-based job search system that acts as a digital headhunter for you. Instead of Monster or CareerBuilder where you post a resume and let recruiters and bots find you, this system searches for jobs on your behalf based on resume fit, and lets you select if your private information is sent to recruiters (not robots). It’s like having a personal recruiter and not having to weed through the keyword search results.

So we followed trends. We looked at the economy and worked up a story about how to “recession-proof” your resume. We saw major CEO’s and celebrities losing their jobs, so we created profiles for them and showed what person X or Y could do next based on our searches. There was an angle that came out of bosses putting your resume into LinkedIn and Google and finding your resume; therefore, you need to “covertly” job search so the boss didn’t know you were looking. After we created the issue, we positioned our executive as an expert in the topic.

Successful campaigns don’t originate with putting out press releases and hoping for coverage. Everyone and all publications need some sort of larger angle to take the interview. When you go to a mixer, whether meeting with media or potential investors, set up your company with an issue and how you’re the expert to fix it.

Yes, it’s problem and solution. But more importantly, it’s a relevant problem because you’ve been tracking the trend, and you’ve come up with the best solution. That’s how you get the larger features instead of the first two paragraphs of your wired release.

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