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Pitches that worked

Bros Behind ‘Yo’ Reveal Their Secret PR Sauce

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When the app that simply says “Yo” debuted a month ago, quite a few folks in media-land ran around like the proverbial headless chickens, proclaiming that the sky had finally fallen when such an obviously useless product earned so much coverage.

So how did the Yo bros score the placements that led to a million downloads in four days? They recently spoke to Ayelet Noff of Venture Beat to reveal their not-so-secret strategy.

Two words: Robert and Scoble.

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Mediabistro Course

Presentation Writing: Design and Delivery

Presentation Writing: Design and DeliveryLearn how to use storytelling techniques and visual content to create and deliver successful pitches and presentations! Starting August 6, Amanda Pacitti, the manager of learning at Time Inc., will teach you the best practices for presentations, from using software like Prezi and Powerpoint, to writing your script, and using images, audio, and video to drive your points. Register now! 

PR Lessons From A Successful Kickstarter Campaign: Tips From Stitch & Locke Founder, Calvin Kwok

stitch & lockeCrowdfunding has become a valued fundraising resource for small business owners just starting out as well as big names like Spike Lee and Veronica Mars. But while some projects take off, others fall flat, never getting off the ground, much less reaching their monetary goal.

Stitch & Locke is a Kickstarter campaign that has definitely taken off. According to the pitch we received, the new company was able to raise $10,000 from 300 backers within 24 hours of launching. With three weeks left to the campaign, the company has raised $38,654 (as of press time) from 1,295 backers. The product that Stitch & Locke makes: a cork wallet for men.

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What Makes for a Good, Monocle-Free Trend Piece?

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If you obsessively follow journalists on Twitter each evening (and you really should), then you probably noticed many of them passing this New York Times ”monocles are back” trend piece around last night along with a moderate dose of mockery.

Yep, that’s the one.

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Your ‘Safest Man to Have Sex With in America’ Pitch Can Only Work So Many Times

That “safest man” would be Ramin Bastani, founder of “an STD app” called Hula which helps users find the most convenient place to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases. The tagline is “Hula helps you get laid”, so the messaging is anything but subtle.

We get it—and based on the search results for the phrase in our headline, we can safely say the pitch worked.

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Can Bad E-Mail Etiquette Make for Better Pitches?

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According to New York magazine econ writer Kevin Roose’s new LinkedIn Influencers post, the answer is “probs :-/”

Roose begins by writing that Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel‘s casual emoji email response to Mark Zuckerberg didn’t just make him look “arrogant”. It also clarified that this was a conversation between equals: no “”Hope all’s well” or “love your company”—just a simple “Thanks :) would be happy to meet.”

The point is that Spiegel, in his own way, played hard to get and made himself more appealing by dialing down the excitement most startup CEOs would feel after receiving an email from the guy who founded Facebook. Instead of waxing reverent, Spiegel addressed Zuckerberg like he was just another West Coast tech guy in his 20s. Oh, wait…

It’s the rare exception that proves the “adopt a formal tone in business comms” rule, but Roose notes that it can also apply to PR pitches.

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PR Win: NYT Profiles Forbes Right Before It Goes Up for Sale

0717_forbes-cover-vergara-080612_400x51911This morning’s big media news scoop, via Bloomberg: Forbes Media is on the market for sale to the highest bidder.

As Skift‘s Rafat Ali notes, this announcement comes less than a week after The New York Times ran a big profile of the business. Coincidence or great PR? We think you know the answer.

Hell, the headline reads “Preserving Venerable Forbes Brand, With an Aggressive Digital Drive”, and the article is all about how the Forbes native advertising program (which totally works, BTW), along with sponsored events and other new revenue streams, will increase its value as a standout in the floundering media field. From the second and eighth paragraphs:

Forbes Media’s 60-year-old soft-spoken and folksy chief executive…has spent the last three years transforming the company from a financially troubled family business into an enterprise that has moved aggressively to embrace the new digital landscape.

Forbes spokeswoman said that advertising revenue for Forbes.com would grow by 35 percent from 2010 to 2013

Times columnist Christine Haughney just wrote their sales pitch for them.

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Hot Trend of the Week: Fancy Veggie Juice As ‘Status Symbol’

You want to be healthy, you want everyone to know that you’re healthy, and you gave up on Naked Juice like three months ago. According to The Wall Street Journal, the answer to all your life’s problems lies in one ridiculously overpriced bottle of liquid kale.

The stuff is a marketer’s dream: it’s become a status symbol with a price tag that is “beginning to approach that of expensive liquor”, and at this point we honestly wonder if people realize that it won’t get you drunk. You could get a full bottle of 50 Shades of Grey wine for the price of a pre-bottled beet and carrot smoothie at Whole Foods, but that’s not stopping the trendsetters we’ll never meet:

Key quote from this interview with the excellent Katie Rosman: “That sounds great, but why don’t you just have a salad?”

A question for the ages indeed.

If you have clients peddling veggie puree who didn’t make it into this trend piece to end all trend pieces, then that kinda sucks. But we hear certain celebrities are available for product placement opportunities!

A Lesson in Marketing from Downton Abbey Wine

i.0.downton-abbey-winesThe wines named for 50 Shades of Grey and Downton Abbey are (relatively) old news in the blog world—you may have seen something about them in your twitter feed earlier this month. But today we learned that those two lines are produced by the same company, which led us to a groundbreaking conclusion:

You can slap a popular name on anything and pitch it.

For some reason, we’d like to believe that’s not the case—but it clearly is.

Ron Roy founded Wines That Rock in 2009 to combine two tastes that taste old and classy together: baby boomers who took their last trip years ago and mid-market wine, or one of the few guilt-free vices they can still enjoy. He started by creating reds and whites named for Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones, so a partnership with Grey author E.L. James was a natural fit: same target audience, same basic premise.

The fact is, far more people will pay attention to your pitch if they see the name of a favorite pop culture property in the subject line—as long as the connection is legitimate and appropriate for the party you’re pitching.

Make of this what you will.

Señor Tyrone’s Ponchos Took Manhattan by Donkey

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Before you ask: yes, that is a model wearing a poncho and riding a donkey through Times Square in October.

But you would never guess that the scene was part of a stunt to promote a company that specializes in deliverable ponchos, would you?

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New Trend in Startups: Recycling Your Food

shutterstock_22696060Here’s a great opening line for a pitch: “Are you gonna eat that trash?”

This isn’t hipster dumpster diving. A couple of new startups are working on a principle that everyone can support: rerouting wasted food to the hungry. The story pretty much writes itself—Food Cowboy co-founder calls his D.C.-based company “air traffic control for food”, scanning the city for totally edible stuff that’s about to be thrown away, like a box of bananas with a few brown spots.

Americans waste approximately 40% of the food we produce, and a lot of ambitious entrepreneurs find that fact to be both a scandal and a business opportunity.

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