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Pitches

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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Mental Floss Wants Quirky, Off-Beat Product Pitches and the Stories Behind Them

Mental Floss is the academic junk drawer of odds and ends of information, origin stories and occasionally the “random things Billy Murray does,” as digital managing editor Erin McCarthy put it. So it makes sense that editors want publicists to come to them with quirky and off-beat products.

Editor-in-chief Jessanne Collins and her staff work regularly with publicists in the fields of travel, books, and spirits and liquor. But, it is not as simple as just pitching an eccentric product. Said Collins:

“There has to be some sort of smart, weird or quirky hook to any hotel or restaurant pitch, and similar with spirits; it’s not just about making a drink, it’s about learning about the history of the spirit and some of the interesting facts and context.”

Collins and her team stressed the importance of understanding the voice of the magazine and its aesthetic. ”It’s really about just being familiar with what we do and the types of things we cover, as well as the angles we cover things from,” said Collins.

For more pitching tips and editors’ contact information, read: How To Pitch: Mental Floss.

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.

 

New Media Influencers on Rebranding, Expansion and ‘Obsessions’

Mic.com Logo“Voice, perspective and messages framed so they resonate with younger readers have all become more important in media now. That means having our ears to the ground in politics and entertainment, then packaging topics accordingly”, said Jake Horowitz, founder and editor of Mic (formerly PolicyMic).

Mic is among a growing number of media brands that launched or renamed recently, like re/code (formerly AllThingsD), Vox.com and Quartz. Editors from these outlets appeared on a PCNY panel on Thursday to discuss their latest moves.

While these sites generally don’t use PR-related pitches, that may change over time. Given their global focus, one could equate landing a story in these outlets to the U.S. soccer team’s World Cup game vs. Ghana: challenging but not impossible.

Here’s a brief rundown on each outlet and their approach.

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

Microsoft-Logo-square

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

tesla-review-hed-2014

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.

Read more

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