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Pitches

Newsweek Journo Responded to Every Pitch for a Week. You Won’t BELIEVE What Happened Next

newsweek

In a perfect world, every journalist would respond to all of our pitches, right? Even a polite “thanks, I might check it out” would be better than nothing at all, wouldn’t it?

Yesterday, Zach Schonfeld of Newsweek posted a piece in which he recounted his experience doing exactly that for a whole week.

Let’s just say it doesn’t sound like much fun.

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The Denver Post Marijuana Editor Gets Some Interesting Pitches

Weed 420 bro

In case you weren’t aware, public perception of the world’s most popular weed is changing.

Since the states of Colorado and Washington effectively legalized the possession and consumption of cannabis, an endless number of related businesses have sprung up to take advantage of a market newly illuminated by the (grow)light of day.

In fact, just over a month ago we spoke to friend of the site and Clear founder Andrew Graham about his plans to launch an advocacy group best described as “the NRA for Cannabis.

But what about the journalists covering this brand-new industry?

Glad you asked: we recently spoke to Ricardo Baca of The Denver Post. He serves as the head of The Cannabist, or the first news vertical dedicated entirely to the culture and business of marijuana.

Selected quotes after the jump.

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6 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Rely on Automated Pitching

HODOR!!!!

We have a confession to make, readers: we get the pitching challenge because we’ve done it ourselves. We know that many firms emphasize quantity over quality despite all evidence to the contrary, and we understand that the pressure to score press often overwhelms basic logic — especially when employers hand out performance bonuses.

So yes: mass pitching is part of the game.

However, we would like to take a moment to warn those about to send pitches to all 324 contacts on a given “oh sh*t we’re f*cked” mailing list: please stop for a moment and reconsider.

Here, from our perspective, are six good reasons why.

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Your First #Ferguson Pitch

shutterstock_87109075Ed Zitron told us this would happen and we were skeptical, but yesterday Valleywag posted on PR promoting a client’s community alert-style smartphone tool as an “app for the Ferguson riots.”

While Sam Biddle predictably called it the worst thing ever of the week, we are conflicted. (The author of said pitch spoke to us back in February for a post on House of Cards‘ portrayal of the political communications game.)

The product, as we understand it, allows citizens to take pictures of crimes complete with geolocation info so they can more effectively alert law enforcement.

How good or bad is this pitch, though?

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14 Words and Phrases PR Pros Need to Stop Using

word-or-phrase-people-should-not-use-in-2014We have discussed catchphrases and buzzwords that should be erased from memory immediately. They are the worst, and used so much that they have become the replacement of “um,” “uh,” and “you know what I’m sayin’?”

No! No, we don’t.

To add to that prestigious list are real words (except one seen below) that have been used in popular settings like new business pitches, client kickoff meetings, and media interviews. Yes, way.

Although we did this in June, which revolved around the word misappropriated term “homophobia,” here we go again. Please take note and spread the word. Save the industry. #PRCares.

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Can This Software Write a Better Pitch Than a PR Pro?

18gnoncgzm93xjpgPR professionals are invaluable; their ability to create a positive public image for a company stems from a detail-oriented nature, a willingness to fine-tune an approach with finesse based on past experience and the study of data, and picking up on minute cues that can help determine which publications, news sources and journalists might be most open to their message.

Crafting a successful pitch is an art form, something that can certainly never be outsourced or automated…right?

MIT graduate Dan Siegel, co-founder of Cambridge-based PR firm Spokepoint, doesn’t quite see it that way.

The company, which was founded in early 2014 as a traditional PR firm geared toward helping small startups get their names out into the world, has been using its own software program that analyzes thousands of data points to predict whether a journalist will respond positively to a specific pitch. It also allows the user to search for and contact journalists based on topics they’ve previously covered, and even tracks whether or not a pitch is successful.

Realizing the market for affordable PR services for small entrepreneurial endeavors, tiny companies that can’t afford a PR pro, and time-crunched crowdfunding campaigns, Siegel and his company made a decision – rather than just using this software to help companies write pitches, Spokepoint has made the software available directly for use by such businesses, so that they can successfully create, manage and track their own PR campaigns — no PR firm or outside pitch-writer needed.

Scared yet? Read more

3 Proven Tips for Pitching Bloggers

pitch blogger

For a couple of years, I was just a boisterous guy with an opinion. Then, something happened. I don’t know if I began speaking to people differently or if it was that new Paleo diet I was on, but it was strange — I got pitched.

The email took me on a trip down Amnesia Lane; I had completely forgotten what it felt like to receive a pitch. Back in the old days when I worked in media, I received pitches via phone … or even fax. This newfangled “email” pitch took some getting used to, but I didn’t respond well because the pitch didn’t relate to anything I could discuss, didn’t include my name anywhere, and only served to relay information about a specific product.

It should go without saying that this is not the best way to pitch. For those pros who spend countless hours trying to pitch bloggers, we have three tips.

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JustReachOut Thinks It Can Beat Your Startup Pitches

Sherlock

This week, we’ve witnessed the further evolution of the “do tech startups even need PR?” debate.

Uber’s General Manager Chris Nakutis gave the concept a big thumbs down while contributor Paul Wilke of Upright Position Communications presented ways to try and dispel the sense of inherent distrust between the two parties.

Today, TechCrunch let us know that yet another company called JustReachOut wants to replace you(!) by making the email pitching process a little easier for those startup folks.

We can tell you’re curious…

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APOCALYPSE WATCH: A Kinder, Gentler Ku Klux Klan Using Candy to Recruit Kids

klan-candy

Yes, this is real. Yes, this is 2014. Yes, that is an untouched picture. Yes, the sardonic hicks of hatred known as the Ku Klux Klan have decided to get back on the campaign trail because membership may be a little low these days.

And so this loosely fit flyer made in Publisher because the economy was delivered across an Oconee County subdivision of northwestern South Carolina. Inside, was a candy cane and some family friendly paraphernalia reading  ”Save Our Land, Join the Klan.”

Sweet, right?

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Is the ‘Client/Partner’ Label Spin or a Serious Definition?

recipe for success

If you work with new business pitches for any amount of time, you will see one of the hidden mysteries of PR pitching unfold in a matter of minutes: how an agency transforms from a vendor to a “trusted partner.”

This is the magical moment when PR agencies are no longer looked at as “hired guns,” but rather “extensions of the marketing team to help reach a common goal.” This is when value of opinion becomes a thing. This is when execution of big ideas become a thing. And this is when your retainer is no longer “a thing.”

Shouldn’t the same happen for clients from the agency perspective? And if so (and it really should, in case you’re wondering), when is that moment?

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