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Pitches

5 Quick Ways to Take Advantage of Sweeps

sweeps bingoBreak out the databases and the brooms, flacks. It’s Sweeps Month!

The word means several things to many people, but in the world of media, it only means one thing — money. And for the world of PR, it should mean one other thing – opportunity. 

You will note every February, May (and July), and November, local TV networks begin to dust off its investigative reporters, gives a raise to its consumer reporters, start to offer more touchy-feely stories before the weather, issue a “three-part series” on such, and acts like the boss is watching.

Because he or she is watching.

“Sweeps” is the time when raises are handed out. Check out national TV. You know how your show breaks for the summer and saves those finales for around May, or before Christmas around November? That’s right. Because people check out for the summer and the holidays since TV doesn’t matter as much. Local networks follow suit, which means flacks have a great opportunity to pull out the greatest hits and, with a little elbow grease, can earn some sweet client hits.

Here are a few ideas how…

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Agency Asks Aspiring Creatives for 10-Second Pitches via Snapchat: The Job Interview for the Twitter Generation?

The Snapchat PitchKids these days. All they do is take selfies and share ridiculous, self-made videos on Snapchat. How will they ever amount to anything?

Why, by sharing ridiculous self-made videos on Snapchat, of course!

DDB Oslo is inviting students from around the globe to share their creative genius (and penchant for brevity) with the agency’s “Snapchat Pitch” campaign. “Great ideas can be explained in a sentence,” says the contest’s website, which urges aspiring creatives to squeeze an epic idea into a ten-second masterpiece.

DDB Oslo’s creative department will then watch every single ten-second pitch (weed out the inevitable porn, pranks and pet videos), and select a grand prize winner, who will be flown to Oslo for an interview.

No need for an impressive portfolio and a multi-year struggle to become the next Peggy Olson! All you need is a rockin’ idea, a smartphone, and ten awesomeness-packed seconds (if that sounded like a gross pickup line, it wasn’t our intention). Read more

The Economist Has Some Problems with the Current Media Relations Model

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In a post on the Economist culture blog today, columnist R.L.G. compares the art of pitching to classic “I’ll scratch your back” bribery.

He apparently decided to rant after received a pitch regarding some sort of businesses partnership. The PR committed a cardinal sin with this sentence:

“It would be great if this somehow can be placed on Economist (print/Web)”

R.L.G. uses this faux pas to emphasize the shortcomings of the current model for media relations, which holds that one must never state the obvious to a journalist as one would to, well, pretty much anyone else. And yes, that is a little weird.

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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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Showcase Your Creative Clients at This Artistic Pub

CommunicationArtsCommunication Arts has a long history of inspiring others in the communication industry. The trade journal strives to motivate industry pros to create meaningful work, covering visual work from ad agencies to photographers.

For PR pros, CA is a goldmine. It’s an established mag with a diverse demographic of readers, who all have a shared love of art. There are a variety of topics that are particularly PR friendly:

Publicists should tailor a pitch around one of four sections: “Exhibit,” a showcase of new and innovative projects in graphic design and advertising from around the world; “Fresh,” which features the latest cutting-edge work from people, firms and agencies that have been working professionally for approximately five years; “Webpicks,” a daily dose of outstanding Website design; and “News.”

To hear more about CA, including editors’ contact info, read: How To Pitch: Communication Arts.

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.

Highlight Your Clients In This Historic Mag

SaturdayEveningPostThe revered Saturday Evening Post has been around for nearly 300 years, and is still going strong. This general interest pub features a variety of topics, including travel, art, fitness, health and more.

The subjects covered and the pub’s key demographic (40-plus and well educated) are perfect for you PR pros hoping to score your client a spot in a coveted mag. Just be sure you’ve done your research prior to your pitch:

Located in the Post‘s front-of-book, the “Post Its” section is a gathering of various short, newsy pieces that are prime for PR pitches. Specifically, editors are looking for American-made products for the “Made in the USA” column (“We’re interested in products that are beautiful… and also represent something that we are proud is made in the United States,” said editor-in-chief Steve Slon) and fitness trainers for the regular “5 Minute Fitness” tip.

To hear more details on how to get your clients in the mag, including editors’ contact info, read: How To Pitch: The Saturday Evening Post.

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.

Cosmopolitan Wishes Perez Hilton Would Stop Pitching His Own Stories on Twitter

Today we learned that Cosmopolitan speaks for the common man in that the mag’s social team has had quite enough of newly thin/always shameless gossip blogger Perez Hilton (and his little dog, too).

Who knew?!

A note to other people who do the thing that Perez does: the act of tweeting links at someone only works if you have a pre-existing relationship with that person. Even then, it can still be very annoying.

Important Things to Remember.

Journalists Actually Want More Social Media Pitches

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A few weeks ago we asked whether PR should pitch journalists directly via Twitter and got a very mixed response. Now the third annual “Social Journalism Study” performed by Cision seems to confirm that, where pitches are concerned, we’re an industry in flux: for now, at least, the vast majority will still be delivered via the digital equivalent of snail mail.

The least surprising conclusion drawn from the study (available for download here) is that 82% of journalists would like their PR contacts to use email. There’s a bit more to this one, though: it seems that a large share of participants would also appreciate more contact via social.

Further conclusions after the jump, of course…

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Highlight Your Clients in Sports Illustrated For Kids

SIKidsSports Illustrated For Kids is the perfect mag for showcasing products, people or places to the young sports fan.

The pub has plenty of sections ripe for PR pitching, including the “Gotta Get It Guide,” which features sports equipment and other paraphernalia. The mag is also keen to get special access to high-profile athletes. More about the pub:

Sports Illustrated for Kids, launched in 1989, is turning 25 in January 2014. The little brother to Sports Illustrated serves mostly boys (65 percent of its readership) ages 7 to 14, “the age when you’re the most passionate as a sports fan,” says managing editor and publisher Bob DerSI Kids does more than appeal to young sports enthusiasts with cool pictures of their baseball and football idols, pull-out posters, sports cards and games — it also encourages kids to read.

For more pitching advice and editors contact info, read: How To Pitch: Sports Illustrated For Kids.

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.

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