After I returned home from nearly 8 years in Asia last year I was lucky to keep getting freelance work for China-based clients, including a wonderful PR gig that sent me to China multiple times.
One of the most enjoyable parts of my work was holding media trainings for companies in the US that wanted to increase their brand recognition in China. This let me harness everything I’d learned in Greater China over eight years, especially my two years working on the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, to create a training focusing to a large degree on China and its unique challenges. At the end of one training a participant asked me why I wasn’t actively marketing myself as a China-focused media trainer. That got me thinking.
This was the conversation that led to today, the launch day for my new business, China Media Strategies. The best way to see for yourself what China Media Strategies does is to check out the videos that are up over here. (For those of you who’ve wondered what Richard looks and sounds like, here’s your chance to find out.) If you want to hear what my clients and colleagues have to say, check out the testimonials. (No, none of them owed me favors.)
I’ve also started a new blog for China Media Strategies that you can find here (much of this post is cross–posted over there). There will be more to come. The new blog is about my thoughts on current events from the perspective of a media trainer and China watcher. It won’t be about politics or the controversial issues I prattle on about over here, and comments moderation will be a bit tighter. One blogger, two personas, so to speak.
What I offer is radically simple: I help clients prepare for media relations in China, and, if they’d like, I help them book time with reporters there as I’ve done for my other clients. Is there a market for this service, and will it work? I honestly don’t know. The one thing I do know is that if I hadn’t gone ahead and tried it out I’d be mad at myself for the rest of my life for not taking the leap.
China hands are sure to take issues with some on the material on my site. Some, for example, may see the ubiquitous red envelopes for domestic media as a flat-out bribe, and others may argue that “guanxi” is so hackneyed and over-used it doesn’t merit yet another post about it, let alone an entire video. But keep in mind, this new site isn’t necessarily for China hands. It’s for people who have limited or zero knowledge of working with the media in China.
I had hoped to open the site a few weeks earlier but technical and travel issues got in the way. So I’m opening it now, the day before I leave on a three-week trip to China. This is the soft launch, an invitation to check out what China Media Strategies is all about. I’ll do a more formal launch when I get back. Please do take a look at the site, the videos and, of course, the blog.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.