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Tips and Tools

4 Pitching No-Nos That Drive Journalists Crazy

hell no

Today we bring you a guest post from Lorenzo Grandi.

Lorenzo is the community manager at pr.co, an online PR toolkit that publishes press releases in minutes. His job is to help people get the most out of their PR efforts online. You can find him on Twitter.

How well do PR people and journalists get along? Sometimes it’s easy to avoid common mistakes that will prevent you from getting covered and possibly ruin your relationship with the journalist–and who better than journalists themselves to point us in the right direction?!

With the help of Martin Bryant, Editor-in-Chief at The Next Web, we gathered a list of no-nos that drive journalists crazy. Let’s take a look at the mistakes that PR pros have to avoid (complete with quotes from various unnamed editors).

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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! 

12 Tips From an Expert on Creating Catchy Content and Products

H & M Jeff Koons Tote Final“Sharing isn’t random, and our intuition about sharing content may be wrong”, said Jonah Berger. The Wharton B-School marketing professor conducted extensive analysis on social influence and types of content and products that go viral. His book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, offers advice on the psychology of sharing, along with examples.

“You don’t want to be one-hit wonders, you want ongoing shareable content”, Berger said during a recent MPA (Association of Magazine Media) event. He was in New York for the start of a year-long visiting professorship at Cornell Tech. If some of his comments seem familiar, that’s because he also advises media outlets like BuzzFeed and The New York Times.

“Word of mouth is a key factor behind so many purchase decisions since it’s persuasive, trusted and targeted”, Berger said. He reminded the audience of the importance of finding the core brand message that you want others to remember and sticking with it. That’s the first key to producing sticky content. Other principles evolve around social currency, storytelling, and providing practical but appealing information.

Since takeaways from his 2013 book mostly centered on positive vs. negative emotional content, we read the rest of the book and compiled his pointers along with our own related examples from commerce, sports, art, fashion and celebrities. Here are a dozen tips to consider:

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TOMS’ Chief Digital Officer Outlines Brand’s ‘Giving’ Formula

Toms Shoes Periodic TablesArgentina’s loss in the World Cup final may have hit one company personally. A 2006 group trip giving shoes to Argentine children inspired Blake Mycoskie to launch TOMS, or “tomorrow’s shoes”. For the brand’s logo, he borrowed light blue and white stripes from the Argentine flag.

“TOMS is based on giving shoes in a sustainable way, on a one-to-one basis”, said its chief digital officer, Zita Cassizzi. She was referring to their M.O. – for every pair of TOMS shoes a customer buys, the company gives a pair to a child in need. While presenting at ANA’s Digital & Social Media Conference, she also discussed TOMS’ expansion to eyewear and coffee.

Cassizzi outlined TOMS’ omni channel marketing strategy, with 5 online and offline elements:

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TechCrunch Has Had It with Your Spam Pitches

spam meat

Yesterday gave the tech PR world a small gift and a big warning: stop spamming TechCrunch writers.

Roman Dillet noticed that certain companies had been selling his email and those of his fellow contributors as part of a list that looks a whole lot like a tool enabling mass email pitches. In response, he posted a screed (URL “please-dont-spam-us”) implicitly urging everyone to stop sending him the sort of automated blasts that might as well bear “PLEASE DELETE THIS MESSAGE NOW” subject lines.

Dillet followed with some Pitching 101 advice, the most important parts of which you all know: do a little research on a given blogger’s beat so you can best determine who will be interested in the story you’re dying to share. And please at least give the appearance of time spent on personalization. Bloggers may be cynical, malnourished emotional discontents who desperately need a little more serotonin and a little less alcohol–but we’re not robots. They’re all busy writing AP’s financial reports.

TechCrunch blogger Sarah Buhr also simplified the idea in a comment on one of the press list providers’ pages:

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Top 11 Writing Tips Drawn from the CIA’s Style Guide

CIA WHAT

You know, the CIA didn’t just celebrate its one-month Twitterversary last week by reminding us that it has no idea where Tupac is.

No, the world’s most infamous intelligence organization also released a very long and very particular style guide originally completed in 2011 and fit to compete with ye old Strunk and White and AP Stylebook.

Why? Well, as Director of Intelligence Fran Moore writes in the foreword:

“The information CIA gathers and the analysis it produces mean little if we cannot convey them effectively.”

Accurate. Here are eleven tips that stood out to us.

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What You Need to Know About Canada’s Crazy New Anti-Spam Law

Spam Vintage

Did you know that yesterday was Canada Day? Did you also know that, while everyone from Google to PR Newswire has been cracking down on spam recently, no one has gone quite as far as that country?

Some details of the world’s most restrictive anti-spam law: if the sender of any message related to “commercial activity” fails to officially verify the consent of the individual recipient, he or she could face “fines of up to 1 million Canadian dollars (about $940,000) for individuals, and up to 10 million Canadian dollars for companies.” Also: this isn’t just email; it applies to “any commercial electronic message”, which may well mean social media posts and DMs as well.

Wow. We dislike spam as much as the next trade blog, but that feels a bit steep.

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5 Things PR Can Learn from Transformers

t4 parachutes

Because sometimes PR people need a parachute to help slow them down.

ICYMI: Michael Bay blew another part of Hong Kong and Detroit into the Stone Age with the unveiling of Transformers 4: Age of Extinction.’ It was mildly successful, earning $104 million to score the the largest opening weekend of the tetralogy.

This may be a surprise to some, but I found myself in one of those weekend theaters, grasping a large caffeinated beverage with cargo shorts full of cheap snacks from Walmart (Oh please! Like I was the only one). And while I was watching Optimus Prime get all ‘Urban Cowboy’ on a dinobot, the oddest 5 Things came to my flacky brain: 5 things PR pros can actually learn from Transformers.

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What You Need to Know About Panda 4.0

PANDA@

When Google released its Panda 4.0 algorithm update in May, the company claimed that it was all about improving search results and eliminating “thin” content from top rankings.

Yet some sensibly asked whether the move was all about punishing newswires. Google’s Matt Cuts had fed speculation in the past by tweeting his disapproval of “very spammy queries” and calling press releases “owned content”–and third-party analysis showed significant SEO drops for the biggest wire services in addition to sites like eBay and Ask.com.

Several blogs have since debated what the changes mean for PR–and we asked Gijs Nelissen, co-founder of CRM provider Prezly, for his take.

Q&A: How Can Brands Find the Right Social Influencers?

teens on phones

When The New York Times runs two different reports on brands partnering with social media influencers over a single weekend, you know the trend is real.

Eric Dahan, CEO of influencer marketing company Instabrand, has a particular interest in this trend–his company’s platform specializes in connecting brands with budding social stars and facilitating mutually beneficial relationships between the parties.

We asked Dahan some questions about the trend; his answers after the jump.

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5 Important Lessons for Your Tech Startup’s PR Launch

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Today we bring you a guest post from Kristen Tischhauser and Chathri Ali, co-founders and managing partners of talkTECH, an L.A. and Chicago-based communications/business development firm serving “innovative, emerging brands and new-to-market products.”

This post is presented by AirPR, a technology platform to increase PR performance. The San Francisco-based technology company is passionate about using data to show the true impact and value of PR.

We, as humans, are impatient. We don’t like to wait; we want what we want and we want it now. That’s why when launching a new tech startup, it’s smart to take a deep breath and make sure that the PR trigger isn’t pulled too quickly. As the famous saying goes, you never have a second chance to make a first impression.

Entrepreneurs put countless hours into perfecting our product or service, yet too many get excited to launch and do so before they are truly ready. A launch is not idea generation. We’re past the stage of throwing something out there to see what sticks. Instead, we want the masses to welcome us into their lives all the while wondering how they ever lived without us. This only happens if the proper steps are taken to ensure a successful launch.

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