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Tips and Tools

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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15 Journalistic Clichés That You Should Also Avoid

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We’re sorry to say we missed this Washington Post list of top journalism cliches last month, but it’s a must read.

Writers often lecture PR people about phrases they should studiously avoid in press releases and pitches. But we rarely see such a rundown of easy linguistic standbys that reporters need to ditch along with last year’s BlackBerry.

The best part about this list is that—truth be told—we regularly use many of the suspect phrases ourselves! We used a big one in that last sentence, for example.

So we decided to pick out a few whoppers from the 150(!) to illustrate the fact that journalists are human, too—and sometimes it’s really hard to think of a better way to phrase an idea, especially when you have to write thousands of words a day.

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Be Aware of These 5 Common PR Mistakes

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We know. It’s a crap shoot.

I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer, but a recent discussion with a reporter chum of mine reminded me of this one irrefutable truth in the public relations industry — the easy stuff is always the first stuff to screw up. The mistakes, albeit as common as they exist, are committed on every level of the food chain. From intern to inside the corner office, everyone is susceptible to having these aberrations with the press and our clients.

Yet, there they are, scattered bodies lining the streets like a deleted scene from “The Walking Dead.” In an effort to inhibit the PR ninjas in this industry jumping from trees and throwing star shurikens with dazzling accuracy into pools of heaping crap, here are five common mistakes in PR of which to always be aware to avoid.

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Cute Celebrity Cats Call the Creative Shots on YouTube, and 10 Other Video Pointers

YouTube viewers love cat videos, but it’s not all fun and games for feline performers, according to Michael Fasciano, social content director at Digitas. At 2014’s Media Summit in New York last week, he spoke on a panel about YouTube, offering a behind-the-scenes account of negotiations for his client to sign Maru, a male cat living in Japan and worldwide YouTube sensation.

Maru has been a YouTube star for a few years, consistently drawing throngs of worldwide viewers, and his owner posts videos under the account name Mugumogu. When a Digitas client wanted to feature Maru, who “jumps into a lot of things”, Fasciano sprang into action. He tracked down the cat and owner, confirming the relationship with a contract. Then he made arrangements to bring an American production crew to Tokyo.

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5 Tips for Better Internal Communications

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Remember when we used to talk? 

Public relations is supposed to the art and the science of communications. If that were so, we would understand that term more holistically. We communicate in many ways to many people; yet, a forgotten aspect of this thing we call “our life’s work” is internal communications. 

How well are we helping our clients if we aren’t teaching that team to speak to one another, share the brand, discuss improvements, learn to drink the same Kool-Aid? We aren’t and I’m surprised more clients don’t call us out on that. If the client has a stronger team internally because of the work we are doing externally, said client will be reminded of our greatness more often.

Now that I have your attention, here are 5 tips to enhance better internal communications. You’re welcome.

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Metropolitan Museum’s Chief Digital Officer Shares His Artful Perspective on Social Media

Met Museum Roof Cloud City FinalWhat does New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art have in common with the Broadway musicals Kinky Boots and Jersey Boys, the Frick Collection and the Manhattan skyline? They’re all top five NYC attractions on TripAdvisor.

That’s what Sree Sreenivasan discovered when he checked the popular travel review site. He’s the Met Museum’s first chief digital officer, and formerly worked as Columbia University’s chief digital officer and professor at their journalism school. He spoke at The New York Times Travel Show on Friday about the museum’s digital initiatives.

The Met’s exhibits and collection ranges from modern sculpture (Cloud City 2012, above) to ancient objects (William the Hippo, below). The museum has long been active on digital fronts, like interactive video screens, digital photography and social media. The Met’s digital efforts are especially interesting given its global audience and high-profile art fans, like celebs Bono, Psy and Steve Martin.

Sreenivasan’s goal is to enhance and expand on the museum’s existing digital programs, leaving no masterpiece unturned. He outlined the Met ‘s current social media status and future plans. He also shared tips that can apply as examples beyond the art world.

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5 Secrets Every PR Pro Should Know About Reporters

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For starters, they don’t all look like this because technicolor is a thing.

In the fabled world of public relations, it amazes — well, really, disheartens — me how few flacks take time to get to know reporters. Forget the national ones who are on everyone’s bucket list. I’m talking the general assignment reporter in their own backyard.

These are the people that can make or break your effectiveness as a PR professional and not once is there an attempt to humanize these folks. I should know. As I have shared a few times in this blog, I’m a proud hack-turned-flack. I have good friends in the media, and I suppose that is why I can understand the jitters when pitching a reporter who answers the phone (intentionally) like a brash horse’s patoot, “NEWS!”

For that, I offer this list for you: 5 secrets every PR pro should know about reporters. Enjoy and share with your team.

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4 Tips for Writing Email Pitches That Reporters Will Read

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In case you’re just a little bored with “how to pitch” stories…here’s another one!

Confession: we know how frustrating the process can be. We also know that being a good writer does not always make one a good pitcher.

Mattan Griffel, CEO of app launch service One Month Rails, wrote a great Medium piece on emails that busy people might actually read—and while he wasn’t specifically writing about pitches or addressing PRs, his points still apply.

We’ve adapted them after the jump.

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Terranea Resort Near L.A. Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Local Brand Influencers and Guests

Terranea Resort Courtesy of“A land unto itself” is how Terranea Resort, an uber-luxury oceanfront property set on a peninsula in southern California, is described on its website. For its guests Terranea serves as a relaxing escape from the hectic pace of Los Angeles, located just 30 miles away.

Yet the resort’s secluded setting was proving to be both a benefit and a challenge. Agnelo Fernandes, Terranea’s SVP of sales and marketing, said the property lacked awareness among SoCal residents. Speaking at HSMAI/Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International’s Digital Marketing Strategy Conference in New York on Tuesday, his case study outlined the social media programs the resort pursued to be more SoCal-local.

Before launching its new theme, “Discover a Land, Not Far Away”, the resort targeted the local community, especially lifestyle gurus active on social media. The goal was to offer entrée‎ to Terranea so they could share their experiences, and in the process grow the resort’s fan base.

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4 Tips on Effective Tweeting from the BBC

The BBC rules Twitter in the UK—and they’ve got some tips for you to encourage more sharing on your own account. They know of what they speak: this is the year’s most-shared story so far. Who knew so many Britons loved the Fresh Prince?

In the wake of a study noting that the BBC is the most-shared account in the UK, Mark Frankel, assistant editor of social news, talked to journalism.co.uk and offered four tips to give your tweets maximum shareability.

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