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Pitches

Late Washington Post Editor Reprimands ‘Flack’ in Classic Letter

WaPo

News of former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee’s passing earlier this week rightly led many to declare an end of an era in journalism. A quick look at his paper today reveals protests by staffers unhappy with new owner/Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ management style — primarily his plans for staffing cuts.

But this Throwback Thursday revelation (which actually posted yesterday) reveals that some things never change: namely, the relationship between journalists and PRs who don’t know how to take “no” for an answer. Here’s the full letter Bradlee wrote to this guy about his misguided campaign to get the paper to run a profile on his client.

Also: PR has never liked the word “flack.” Shocker, we know. Full letter after the jump.

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Mashable’s Branded Content Editor Talks Pitching

LAUREN-DRELL-HEADSHOT-newAt a summer event hosted by AirPR, we met Lauren Drell, who runs branded content at Mashable. Drell was being honored for her work that night, and we were impressed by her claim that she responds to (almost) every pitch she receives — especially after Newsweek writer Zach Schonfeld’s “respond to every pitch for a week” experiment got so much attention back in September.

Fortunately, Drell agreed to give us a few minutes of her time for a “So What Do You Do?” interview; here’s a segment from the forthcoming piece.

What sort of advice would you have for those looking to pitch a client to Mashable’s Branded Content department?

My beat is everything, and I do make an effort to reply to everyone because I never know what I’m going to need to know about the latest niche app.

But the number one way to get coverage for a startup would be to email our startup reporters and/or get in touch with them on Twitter.

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Why Do So Many Journalists Dislike PR?

His-Girl-Friday-still

This morning we came across a post on LinkedIn written by Account Executive Kim Cox of The Cline Group and titled “There’s a Reason Journalists Hate PRs.”

We were compelled — especially since the premise of the story was a reading of EZ-PR founder Ed Zitron‘s book This Is How You Pitch, which he also discussed with us two months ago.

The headline’s conflict is a problem to which we see no long-term “solution”. Cox’s point (and Zitron’s) is that each PR professional needs to develop something approaching a relationship with those on the other side of the media aisle rather than simply sending blind emails and wondering why no one ever replies.

But we all know this. And it’s not so simple, either: no matter how often the journalists Cox cited in her post talk badly about PR, we also see them going back and forth with smart reps on Twitter. And those are just the public interactions.

We reached out to Zitron, who had a few things to say and write.

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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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