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Pitches

#PRFail: Microsoft Offers To Pay TechCrunch Founder To Promote Internet Explorer

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Today in not-exactly-breaking news: Microsoft Internet Explorer lags well behind both Chrome and Firefox when it comes to overall browser usage (though they’re still ahead of Safari and Opera, whatever that is).

This week, the company “accidentally” committed a big PR no-no in its latest attempt to promote the browser; a “vendor” offered to pay TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington to write a post hyping the “reworked” version of the product.

Arrington responded with a post on UnCrunched expressing his disbelief: “do people still do this?”

Apparently so.

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Publicists: Latina Wants Your Celebrity Stories

Few things get a magazine more excited than a possible celebrity exclusive, and Latina is no different. The 18-year-old publication is well known for featuring prominent Latina women as sources and experts on a variety of topics, including parenting, relationships, money and more. If you have a story on a Latina celebrity, editors want you to step forward.

While cultural competence is key when pitching to the magazine for the “acculturated Latina,” so is timeliness and content relevancy.

Dan Koday, executive content director for both the magazine and its online counterpart, Latina.com asserts:

Reference something we’ve recently done. We won’t cover someone just because he or she is Latino or Latina. It has to be a compelling story. If you have a specific section to pitch it for, even better.

Writers and publicists should pitch profiles and products at least four months in advance. Also take note: Latina “does stories, not announcements,” says Koday.

For more pitching advice and editors’ contact info, read: How To Pitch: Latina.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

UPDATED: ‘The Oatmeal’ Cartoonist Leverages Love of Tesla Motors to Support Nikola Tesla Museum

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I’m a longtime fan of The Oatmeal, and particularly appreciate how cartoonist Matt Inman exuberantly describes and animates his unbridled passion for the things he loves — his dog, grammar, the fiendishly-terrifying Mantis Shrimp, etc.

As it turns out, Inman also happens to love Tesla — both the legendary inventor and the car company — and is attempting to leverage his love and endorsement of the latter to support a museum honoring the former.

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Showcase Your Clients in Wine Enthusiast

Wine-Enthusiast-ArticleWine Enthusiast is a niche mag with a very specific type of reader: usually in his or her mid-to upper 40s, with a median income of  $100,000. It’s the perfect demo to pitch clients of yours in the travel or food and beverage industry.

PR folks should send pitches via email, and the best timing is five months prior to the issue publication date. Here are some other tips:

Publicists should focus on wine, food (both cooking and dining out) and travel. Successful pitches include chef profiles and recipes for the front-of-book, as well as product suggestions for the holiday gift guide. If you represent a restaurant, even better. “A lot of times, it’s restaurant publicists who have something new or special in their beverage programs or some sort of recurring wine series [that we might cover],” says managing editor Joe Czerwinski. “Occasionally we spotlight individual sommeliers in Q&As. So there are some cool things that we’re certainly open to hearing from people on.

For more, including editors’ contact info, read: How To Pitch: Wine Enthusiast.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How to Land Your Clients a Spot in Essence

Essence-ArticleEssence, which calls itself the black women’s bible, is ripe for PR pitches. With 1.5 million issues in print (and 1 million online), this pub reaches a large, niche audience.

Editors at Essence want PR folks to know that they are inundated with press releases, so pitches need not be generic. Be sure to thoroughly research the brand before delivering your pitch:

“The number one thing I want publicists to know is that yes, Essence is a magazine for black women. Our mission statement is ‘We tell black women’s stories like no one else can.’ But,” [deputy managing editor Dawnie Walton] stressed, “you still need to know a little bit more about the brand than just pitching anything having to do with black people in general.” Also helpful: pitching to the right person. Take a look at the masthead and know who covers what to make a press release or story suggestion more targeted.

For more, including editors’ contact info, read: How To Pitch: Essence.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Tips on Pitching and Media Relations from Facebook’s Media Coach Bill McGowan

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Bill McGowan has held many titles throughout his career: journalist, “A Current Affair” reporter, author, founder and CEO of Clarity Media Group.

His most recent role is media coach for executives, celebrities and artists ranging from Kelly Clarkson and Eli Manning to Thomas Keller and Tim Gunn. He’s also worked with major firms to help PR professionals hone the art of the pitch.

Two of his most recent clients’ names might ring a bell: Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg.

In McGowan’s latest book Pitch Perfect: How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time, he draws on decades of experience working both in front of and behind the camera to offer tips and tools on how to deliver a message efficiently and confidently.

We recently spoke to Bill to learn how that experience applies to PR.

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SheKnows Needs Original, Timely PR Pitches

She-Knows-Article

SheKnows.com is a no-nonsense, service-driven site that gets 68 million monthly page views. It’s known for its broad range of content that aims to empower women, making it perfect for PR pros hoping to showcase their clients to a female audience on a constant hunt for everyday solutions.

Lauren Swanson, director of editorial operations, advises that publicists pitch original angles that readers can use. Also, be aware of the editorial calendar and make sure seasonal items are pitched one to two months in advance:

[Swanson] says the website gets plenty of last-minute holiday-related stories, but they don’t typically accept them unless it has “social media mojo.” “We generally ignore pitches that are not relevant or clearly skew toward promoting a product,” she says. “Our bloggers generally curate products based on research and testing, so we are not inclined to pass along PR product pushes unless the product is innovative.”

To hear more about the mag, including editors’ contact info, read: How To Pitch: SheKnows.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

5 Things to Never Say During a Media Pitch

shut_upIf you are in charge of a PR team of any size, you should have had to do this — listen to your team pitch the media, critique them following the call, and watch them grow.

First, if you have never done that, turn in your APR certification or brass name plate. Second, if you have, then you have felt the cringe factor when a hard-working (or suck-out-loud) team member is speaking with a member of the media and trips over his or her tongue.

The pitch is off. The talking points are missing. And the end is near. *CLICK*

If you understand that cringe, then get our a pen and paper, high-five me, and write down the 5 things to never say during a media pitch.  Read more

Pitching Advice from a Former Tech Journalist

Bekah Grant is no longer a tech journalist. But she covered startups, apps and acquisitions (aka our clients) for more than two years at VentureBeat, and she has some advice worth heeding beyond these truth bombs:

In a Medium piece last week, Grant offered PRs some general guidance on understanding and interacting with the writers who cover the tech beat.

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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Speaking in Public

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You sweating yet?

In most PR agencies, flacks have one fear coursing through their bodies that forces them to consider wetting their pants just to relieve some stress — public speaking. You would think in this industry those are fears you leave at the door or reconsider your career choice, but there it is.

The public relations pros that have this issue — glossophobia, to those diagnosed and on medication — love pitching because they can hide behind a phone, or even better, an anonymous IP address and email. However, if those same folks are on the pitch team, they freak.

So, if you are among those whose knees are knocking, palms are sweating, and throats are cracking reading this post, don’t fret. Here are 5 mistakes to avoid when caught in front of a crowd of possible clients.

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