Tag Archives: how to pitch a blogger

“Blogos and Journos–They’re Just Like US!”

Do you ever read Us Weekly? Yeah, yeah. Of course you don’t. 🙂 Neither do I…I just look at the pictures.

One of my favorite sections is “Stars–They’re Just Like US,” a regular section featuring photos of stars doing everyday things–just like us common folk. Pamela Anderson pays with a debit card–just like us! Reese Witherspoon shops in sweat pants–just like us! Jake Gyllenhaal washes his car–just like us!

What I like about this section is that it’s good to see stars looking not-so-shiny. Seeing them do the tasks we do in our lives also helps us appreciate them as “normal” people. When doing blogger or media relations, it’s important we remember they too are human.

Why am I bringing this up? Last week I was at an industry event chatting with a top-tier blogger, when s/he got a phone call from a PR person who was “just checking in” to see if the blogger was going to post their news. Bear in mind, it’s Midnight Pacific in SF, which means it’s 3 AM back on the east coast where the blogger lives.

I don’t know about you, but if anyone calls me after 10 or 11 at night, it better be an emergency–3 AM, and there better be a catastrophe!

I would have gone ballistic on the caller. The blogger, however, handled it well. When s/he hung up, I expressed my shock. S/he said “It happens all the time.” What makes it even worse is that, after polling several other top-tier bloggers over the past week, I found out that it happens to them, too.

Their painful acceptance made me cry for our industry.

Yes, bloggers are always on. And, yes, you’re doing your job to help them do their job better. But there *is* a line. Before you send an email, make a phone call, pitch them at parties, etc., ask yourself: “How would I respond to this action?”

Here are a few ways bloggers and reporters are JUST LIKE US:

  • They stress at having a full inbox with over a thousand unread messages, many that probably aren’t even pertinent to them
    • I can’t drill this enough: Know who you are pitching. If you can make it personal, do so. None of us like unnecessary email. Don’t send junk
  • They sometimes need to go “heads down” and hammer some work out
    • When you call, ask if they are on deadline. If they say yes, ask when the best time to call is or just apologize and cal again tomorrow
  • They like to forget work and have fun at parties
    • It’s ok to talk to them, maybe introduce them to a client. Use that time to get to know them as a person and then they may be more receptive to your news at a later date
    • Don’t, I repeat, don’t pitch them
  • They like their nights and weekends!
    • Don’t call them late at night. That’s just tacky. If you have a good pitch and a good relationship, then just chill.
    • If it’s late news, send the email. Follow-up in the morning. Period

They have grouchy bosses, demanding kids, bills to pay. They get angry, sad, happy. They have bad days and beautiful days. Yup, basically they are human–just like us. Be sure to treat them with the dignity and respect that we all deserve as humans on this planet.

What steps do you take before you engage with a blogger or reporter? What other ways are bloggers and reporters just like us? Let us know in the comments!

Like what you read? Add our RSS feed! [what’s that?]. Or start your morning with socialTNT in your InBox! Or read Chris 24-7 on Twitter!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Best Practices, Blogger Relations, Public Relations 2.0

“And…Cut! How Not To Pitch Video Content”

Last night a top-tier blogger told me they were having problems with people using video to promote and pitch their company. To make sure video doesn’t become the new press release that pisses journos and bloggers off, I wanted to share the problem and discuss a couple of ways to pitch video effectively.

Problem

Startup Z wants Blogger X to write about their new product announcement, so they send a video. Nope, not a link to YouTube. Not a link to a social media news release. Nope, they send a 60+ MB file as an attachment with no textual support. They also offer a link to a YouSendIt type place to download. Why is that a problem?

Think about it like this:

  • Assumes blogger is near a connection that can download
    • Many bloggers travel like nomads going from conference to conference
  • Assumes bloggger has time to download 60+ MB
    • As a rule of thumb, if you can’t send it from your email, maybe you should rethink the file size
    • Is a link better?
  • Assumes blogger will open it
    • I generally don’t open unsolicited attachments for fear of computer viruses
  • Assumes blogger has the proper program to play that file format
    • Sadly, we don’t have universal standards on video. Some blogos are Mac-based while other are strictly PC (shocking!)
  • Assumes blogger has time/brainpower to sit and watch the video
    • At the end of the day, I just dont have the strength to watch another video

Solution

I love video more than most people in PR and applaud anyone trying to create content that tells their story in innovative ways. As we as an industry try to figure out how to integrate these new technologies into our campaigns, we may encounter a few hiccups along the way. You want journos and bloggers to be interested in the content you are creating, so be mindful when you pitch them

To make sure your video gets the attention it deserves, try these steps:

  • Load the video to YouTube, Vimeo, Viddler, Blip.tv (Need help choosing? Read our review of the top video platforms)
  • Under Embargo? Not ready for the world to see the video?
    • Blip.tv allows you to create password-protected videos. Send a link with the password to the bloggers and reporters you do want to share the vid with
    • Blip.tv also allows your viewers to download the video in a variety of formats that the viewer chooses
  • Send a text summary (preferably bulleted) in the email alongside the video
    • Watching a 3 minute video may not seem like a big investment, but it is. Give journos and bloggers an alternative
    • Bullet out the key points so the journo or blogger can see if it’s something they are interested in
    • This also helps ensure that all the messages and facts you want them to pull from the video will at least be acknowledged

We all want to do the best things for our clients. Whether the video is featured in a post on a top-tier blog, inspires another post or gets picked up by several long-tail bloggers, the visual format can have a significant impact on your audiences. Just be mindful of the people you are pitching and you can guarantee your content gets the attention it deserves!

How do you pitch out your video or audio content? Let us know in the comments!

Don’t miss out: Grab our RSS feed! [what’s that?]. Or start your morning with socialTNT in your InBox! Or read Chris 24-7 on Twitter!

[The above photo, “Digital Alarm Clock” by Endless Studio on Flickr, used under Creative Commons]

1 Comment

Filed under Best Practices, Blogger Relations, How To, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media, Video

“The Blogos Are Right. Tech PR Must DIE!”

It’s been a rough week for PR peeps. The blogos are right, tech PR is losing the fight. What do you say we kill off all our bad practices and start anew? By confessing all of our sins, maybe we can set them free and finally move on! (For a more conventional approach to blogger relations, check out our previous posts “Luke, I Am Your Blogger : How to Pitch From the Dark Side” or “ “How Media Relations Got Its Groove Back”)

I’m not being sarcastic. I’m ready to see tech PR die

Visualize with me:

  • Let’s burn blast emails.
  • Let’s hang (up) the phone to cold calling.
  • Let’s poison fluffy, fake press releases.
  • Let’s slash the idea that we can push the press into submission.

Good. Feel that weight going off your shoulders? That’s freedom.

Give yourself permission to start fresh start and do the following:

  • Imagine interacting as equals.
  • PR, clients, marketers and companies join the conversation.
  • Don’t just read content, interact with the writers.
  • Build relationships, both offline and on the Interwebs.
  • Produce meaningful content, don’t just push it.
  • Drop the fluff and get with the raw, insider view.
  • Give the mic and the camera to your clients.
  • Help them create and publish their own content.
  • Then one day, a blogger or journo might find it and reach out to you!

Yes. I confess. I’m not perfect. As of today, however, I’m liberating myself from the wrong deeds of PR pros past. Join me?

What practices do you want to kill off? Confess them in the comments. Also, how do you see PR changing and what do you want to see change? Let us commune 😉

Don’t miss out: Grab our RSS feed! [what’s that?]. Or start your morning with socialTNT in your InBox! Or read Chris 24-7 on Twitter!

[The above photo, “Paris – Île de la Cité: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris – Confessions Dialogue” by wallyg on Flickr, used under Creative Commons]

6 Comments

Filed under Best Practices, Blogger Relations, Public Relations 2.0

“Gina Responds! And: About Yesterday’s Post”

Late yesterday, I received the following email from Gina. My reply is further down the page:

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your email. My name and further explanation appears on the
wiki, which anyone can leave a comment on. (You just need to log into
PBwiki to do so.)

Also, as I say on the wiki, I welcome story pitches to tips@lifehacker.com.

Have a good weekend,
Gina

I also received some Tweets and emails saying yesterday’s post/email was a little harsh.

The post was about accountability, communication and education. If someone creates something that could impact people’s pocket books, that person should take responsibility for their actions. Especially if that person is already involved in social media and understands that nature of how it works.

On Gina’s blog and in her books, she helps educate people by offering tips and tricks to do things more effectively. That’s what was so irksome about the situation. She could have easily taken the same amount of time to write an educational post–or really any post at all–and could have positively affected the conversation.

My reply to Gina is below. As always, please feel free to comment.

Hi Gina:

Thanks for your email, and thanks for changing the wiki. I’m 100% for sharing opinions. I also 100% understand your frustration.

From what I can see from your blog, you and I both have the same goal: to help and educate. That is probably why I found your actions so upsetting. Instead of using your talent and skill to help people learn and perhaps prevent the mistake, you chose a negative action. You used your position of power and influence to negatively affect an industry on which you rely. You may say, “I shouldn’t have to educate people on how to do their job,” but you do it daily on your blog.

Check out these posts from Mashable and this one from ReadWriteWeb. By offering tips with best and worst practices, these guys are helping to make it easier for themselves and the PR pros that pitch them. After receiving several really really bad pitches of the course of a few days, I also posted “Luke I Am Your Blogger, How to Pitch From the Dark Side” as a way for me to vent my frustrations. It also allowed me to use my unique role as both blogger and PR pro to help others grow from my experience.

Remember, what you say/post can affect people’s pocketbooks. Please think about that and look to find ways to positively impact the conversation.

Thank you,

Chris

Don’t miss a post: Got RSS? [what’s that?]. Or, start your morning with socialTNT in your InBox!

[The above painting is by my favorite guerrilla artist, Banksy. His book says “Copyright is for losers,” so I don’t think he’ll mind if we use it]

6 Comments

Filed under Blogger Relations, It's A Conversation, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media

“Unsubscribe Lifehacker: My Email to Gina Trapani”

This morning, the Twitterverse was a flame after Gina Trapani from Lifehacker tweeted a link to a wiki she had created. The wiki, PR Companies Who Spam Bloggers, is a ready-to-paste-into-your-spam-filter list of domains belonging to a good chunk of the tech PR firms out there. Her response, thus far, has been linking back to this blog post from Matt Haughey. [UPDATED: Gina emailed saying she had changed the wiki to include attribution and reasoning. See the email, my response and my reasoning behind this post here.]

In the past, socialTNT has responded with blog posts on how to increase communications (you can find those here and here). Since there is no attribution on the wiki, I had no clue who had created the until someone shared Gina’s original Tweet. Because I found this semi-anonymous approach to be rather old-school in nature, I decided to send her the below email. It may be a little harsh, but the bottom line is that her actions affect the wallets of PR professionals everywhere. If you find my email to be a little agitated, you might prefer Todd Defren’s open letter to Gina or Brian Solis’ post discussing PR “spam.” Also, please feel free to unsubscribe Lifehacker from your RSS feed.

What do you think of Gina’s actions? Or my email? Please share your thoughts.

—————–

Hi Gina:

My name is Chris Lynn. I edit a blog called socialTNT. Our mission here is to create a discussion between PR Pros, Marketers, Bloggers and Journalists on social media and its role in our respective professions. While not as big as Lifehacker, we still receive a nice amount of traffic. I would love to expand socialTNT into something larger, but I don’t have a lot of extra time to invest. You see, I work full-time as a PR professional.

As a PR person in the new media age, I work daily with bloggers and journalists, sometimes through the phone, sometimes through email/twitter/IM. No matter what the medium, I try to devote 100% of myself to the process. I say “try” because we all have bad days, but it’s a job. I’m sure you have at least one post that wasn’t your best, so maybe you can empathize.

After I finish working 9 hour days, I come home and work on the blog. That can mean anything from reading through my feeds to planning the interviews, tweaking layouts, researching emerging tech, or just learning editing software. Then I write about it. I try to stay tuned into trends in media, marketing and PR–like I said, I don’t have a lot of time to write, but I do have a lot of ideas.

With my professional life (both with the blog and at the agency) I operate on these 3 principles:

  1. Accountability and as much Transparency as possible
  2. Communication and Conversation
  3. Education and Peer Development

Your wiki doesn’t do any of the above. [UPDATED: Gina emailed saying she had changed the wiki to include attribution and reasoning.] Sure, you semi-transparently Tweeted the link. Those who stumble upon the wiki won’t know this. By cutting off domains, you stifle conversation. Had you blogged the list, there might have been debate/discussion in the comments. Yes, Twitter is a discussion, but it’s not particularly contiguous, nor is it associated with the list. Finally, your post did nothing along the lines of education. In my eyes, your move was an aggressive one that came from a place of anger instead of looking towards understanding.

In the new media age, information is currency. By limiting the flow of information, you could find yourself bankrupt. Just remember: there’s always another up-and-comer in the wings who might just be a little thirstier than you. Oh, and another thing about the new media age: your audience is fluid. As soon as they find something better, they are quick to change their click.

In true liquid fashion, I’m exercising my right to click by unsubscribing Lifehacker from my RSS feed until the wiki is removed or until you start a more genuine dialog–on my blog or on your own. [UPDATED: Gina emailed saying she had changed the wiki to include attribution and reasoning.] I don’t support negativity. At all.

Just remember that your flippant actions and comments can affect the livelihoods of real people with real families. Please don’t take that lightly.

Best,

Chris

Don’t miss a post: Got RSS? [what’s that?]. Or, start your morning with socialTNT in your InBox!

17 Comments

Filed under Blogger Relations, It's A Conversation, Public Relations 2.0, Rants

“3sday’s 3Q’s in 3Min: Mike Rothman, Security Incite”

No time to check out the spring wildflowers in bloom? No problem, today’s “3sdays 3Q’s in 3Min” is just as fresh and colorful.

Every Thursday, socialTNT channels the spirit of citizen journalism by putting bloggers, reporters, PR pro’s or anyone with something to say about social media in front of the camera for a short, three minute interview. In addition to helping PR peeps pitch these individuals more effectively, the videos are meant to encourage dialog between reporters, PR/communications practitioners and marketers on the future of media.

Mike RothmanThis week, socialTNT is at the world’s largest security expo, the RSA Conference. While there, we ran into Principal Analyst and Blogger at Security Incite, Mike Rothman. Since Mike is a blogging analyst who was once a VP of Marketing, I was really psyched when he agreed to an interview. In today’s “3Q’s in 3Min,” Mike tells how he likes to get pitched and the value of a blog for brand building.

Mike has been in the security industry for over 15 years. Starting out as an analyst, he spent the mid-90’s as a VP at IT research firm The META Group. After that, Mike served as VP of Marketing at a couple of software firms. In 2006, Mike founded Security Incite, an analyst firm specializing in information security. With the founding of the company, Mike also started blogging. Alongside the bog, Mike has a highly circulated, daily newsletter and just recently started podcasting.

Known for offering a “no bull” take on information security, Mike’s blog aims to create a conversation between buyers, consumers and product manufacturers. He can’t stand product messaging that sets the wrong expectation for buyers, and will write a harsh reality-check, should he cover your product. Mike’s “Security Incite Rants” have pissed off many a CEO, but like any conversation, Mike encourages them to respond in the comments.

To marketers, Mike strongly recommends they jump on board the blog train as a great way to get their voice out and build thought leadership. He also believes in Karma, stating that you get what you give. While many marketers might shudder at the thought of giving away free products, Mike readily offers a free monthly analyst report to his readers. His reasoning: Karma–you have to give to get.

Fun Facts About Mike:

  • Lives just outside of Atlanta
  • Mac user
  • Used to have a column in Network World
  • Not on Twitter (he thinks that it’s not an important communication channel for his target demo)
  • Is on LinkedIn

Mike hopes that today’s video will help slow the tide of bad pitches in his Inbox. Watch as he tells us how to pitch a blogger and the best way your spokesperson to respond to a bad post. Also find out why Mike thinks blogging is so important for small businesses.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I like Mike’s take on blogging and the importance of distribution to increase the conversation amongst like-minded individuals. How has blogging changed you or your company’s role in the industry? Has the increased conversation changed your outlook on industry topics?

No time to watch the video at work? Get “3Q’s in 3Min” free from iTunes and watch it on the go!

Also, don’t miss a post: Drop socialTNT into your RSS reader [what’s that?]. Better yet, subscribe to socialTNT by email!

Leave a comment

Filed under 3sdays 3qs In 3 Min, Blogger Relations, Small Business Social Media, Social Media, Video Interview

“3sday’s 3Q’s in 3 Min: Chris Parandian, MobileDiner.com”

Pardon our radio silence; we’ve been at CTIA Wireless in Las Vegas. (Almost) live from Vegas, it’s “3sdays 3Q’s in 3Min.”

Every Thursday, socialTNT channels the spirit of citizen journalism by putting bloggers, reporters, PR pro’s or anyone with something to say about social media in front of the camera for a short, three minute interview. In addition to helping PR peeps pitch these individuals more effectively, the videos are meant to encourage dialog between reporters, PR/communications practitioners and marketers on the future of media.

Chris Parandian Filming by Jeff PulverWhile at CTIA, socialTNT met up with MobileDiner.com‘s Chris Parandian. If you or your client is in the Wireless space, pay attention. In today’s “3Q’s in 3Min,” Chris tells us more why he loves social media and shares his CTIA show faves.

Unless you’ve got the clout of GigaOm or TechCrunch, most bloggers don’t blog full time. Whether full-time or not, most bloggers are pretty passionate in the niche they cover. Chris is no exception.

Offline, Chris works as a mobile policy consultant. Not surprisingly, MobileDiner.com is a forum for consumers and feds to learn about the ins and outs of wireless policy. Don’t let the nichey-ness scare you, Chris also covers mobile startups or innovators that change the ways people connect and communicate. He’s also the founder of the DC-based, new media firm Tin Can Communications, so you’ll also notice posts on social media or marketing and PR.

Chris and I have been following each other on Twitter for sometime. Last month, he also covered news from one of my clients, so it was great to finally meet him in person. Even though both of us were over-stimulated and running on little sleep, we had a great conversation.

In the following video, Chris tells us more about his blog/beat and explains what he likes most about social media. He also drops his best-of-shows at CTIA 2008.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

No time to watch the video at work? Get “3Q’s in 3Min” free from iTunes and watch it on the go!

Also, don’t miss a post: Drop socialTNT into your RSS reader [what’s that?]. Better yet, subscribe to socialTNT by email!

[Above photo courtesy of Jeff Pulver]

Leave a comment

Filed under 3sdays 3qs In 3 Min, Blogger Relations, Citizen Reporter, New Media, Social Media, Video Interview