Google PR just sent me an email. the CCd instead of BCC – I know have email addys for all major journalists! Woohoohaha
Wow, this journalist email list is GOLD, shame I’m too ethical to do anything with it
I was surprised that Google PR didn’t personalize the emails based on the reporter/blogger and beat. Andy’s response was that this was typical depending on the PR person within Google.
Don’t get me wrong, Google is obviously doing something right. I barely read any negative articles about Google. But this non-personalized approach surprised me. I was always taught to personalize my pitches. Here are my top don’ts for pitching reporters:
- Don’t Misspell Names – Misspelling names turns off the reporter before he or she even reads your pitch.
- Don’t Use Nicknames – unless you’re absolutely sure, I would err on using the reporter’s full name. Make sure you remember point 1.
- Don’t Generalize Pitches – research the reporter to make sure that you target your pitch to his/her beat. Using a general pitch can backfire as it’s obviously a mass emailing.
- Don’t Mass CC Reporters – this one refers to what Google PR did. If you have to mass email reporters, at least use the BCC line. Otherwise, you’re advertising who you’re pitching and possible competitors in the email.
Any thoughts or other recommendations for PR Pitching?
Recently, I saw CenterNetworks tweet about broken embargoes and Allen wrote a follow up post about his views on embargoes. This raises an interesting question about whether or not embargoes are still valid in this new world of instantaneous news and the desire to scoop your fellow bloggers and traditional media.
Even before blogs, you always risked the possibility of a reporter breaking your embargo. Heck, this happened to me when I worked with a reputable national business outlet before my client launched at a conference. The article appeared on the Sunday before the conference began and also mentioned a couple of other companies.
The saving grace? Reporters were still interested in learning more about the company and technology. And there were several high-quality articles written about the company.
In the end, I believe embargoes are still valid. The question isn’t should you have an embargo or not but rather how you go about securing and managing embargoes.
Considering an Exclusive to One Outlet – Depending on your news and objectives, it may be worthwhile to give one media outlet an exclusive on the news. Usually, if the news is big enough for a top-level reporter/blogger to honor an embargo for an exclusive, other reporters/blogs will still cover your news.
Use Your Common Sense – If a reporter or blogger has consistently broken an embargo, it’s most likely that that they won’t honor an embargo. Still brief the person on your news, but schedule the briefing for the day of your announcement, not before. If the briefing is early enough, then they still have time to write up a brief for online publication.
Not All News Require an Embargo - I think we tend to fall into the habit of trying to have embargoes for all press releases. This just won’t work. If you’re going to require an embargo, make sure the news is worthy of one.
Be Consistent with Embargoes – As Allen highlighted in his post, he “broke” his embargo because he noticed the news on the company website. If you’re going to have an embargo, be consistent on when information gets updated to a corporate website, blog, or social network, as well as distributed on the wire. If it happens often, reporters/bloggers will begin assuming it’s ok to post things early.
And what about reporters/bloggers who break an embargo? That’s a tough one. I think you have to take a case-by-case basis. For less sensitive news, give her an opportunity to earn back your trust – will she post the news even when you request that she hold it? If so, then you know not to trust them with embargoes.
In the case of top-tier reporters/bloggers, if she breaks an embargo 2-3 times and appealing to an editor has no effect, then brief them only on the day of the announcement.
It’s just that simple, I hope =)
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OK – I previously wrote about how to manage my many online personalities here and here. Since those posts, I’ve reversed my previous position about my online reputation. The heart of it is managing relationships through the tools available to me.
In the end, PR is about relationships. How do you build, nurture and maintain them. However, it is challenging with the nature of PR – reporters moves, accounts change and an unending cycle of new account folks.
I read recently that the average number of jobs that today’s workers will have throughout their lifetime is about 12-14! With that type of churn, you’re expecting only a person to be in their current job an average of less than 2 years. Developing the relationships that are key to our industry require a long-term, patient approach.
What are the tools that enable me to identify, develop and maintain these contacts? I now have four ways for managing these online relationships:
Facebook - Despite my previous email about keeping my online reputation to a minimum, I realized that Facebook is another avenue for connecting with colleagues and industry contacts. By friending people, I can subscribe to a RSS feed to keep up to date on what’s happening. I still need to learn more about Facebook, but I’m starting to understand how Facebook differs from LinkedIn. Friend me and I’ll friend you back.
LinkedIn – I still use LinkedIn more for business contacts as I’ve had this account the longest. LinkedIn’s strength is when you’re looking for a job or for seeking advice from peers. I use LinkedIn Answers quite a bit for a professional perspectives. View My LinkedIn Profile
Twitter - I lost wrote that Twitter is changing how news/information is being dissemated. I just started getting into Twitter via Jeremiah Owyang. In fact, I responded to some questions about my company’s solutions as Jeremiah and CenterNetworks were viewing a webcast. Like Facebook, I’m realizing that Twitter is an important tool for following trends, competitors and my own company. Follow me on Twitter and I’ll follow you.
Personal blog – And of course this blog has enabled me to make good relationships. By linking to posts and commenting on other blogs, I’ve developed new relationships that wouldn’t have been possible. Whether a corporate or personal blog, I strongly believe that a blog is key if you want to engage in “blogger” relations. It demonstrates that you’re contributing and spending the time to understand the community.
Are there other ways that you manage your online relationships? Let me know.
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1. Let a 100 Blogomerates Bloom: With the relaunch of Industry Standard (I believe as a blog) and the popularity of GigaOm, VentureBeat and TechCrunch, I envision more blogomerates gaining prominence and influence on the media landscape. “Traditional media” have already started creating blogs in specific topic areas but this will need to branch out more in terms of open comment policies and having dedicated bloggers versus reporters who blog.
2. Social Media Connections: I envision savvy PR departments/agencies leveraging social media networks to keep key reporters, bloggers, analysts and other influencers up to date on announcements. Facebook is probably the best default for this as you can maintain the invites and funnel interesting tidbits related to a specific industry/company for story ideas. Will news be broken via Facebook or other similar tool, that will be interesting to see.
3. Long Tail PR: Chris Anderson described the concept of the Long Tail and Now Is Gone did a great review of this for PR. The question is how does this truly impact PR? Top media coverage now extends from traditional media (i.e. WSJ, BusinessWeek, etc.) to top bloggers (i.g. GigaOm, TechCrunch, Read/Write, etc.). As PR has the opportunity to manage social media relationships, then how do you balance and measure the impact of “long tail” relations will be key in 2008.
Tom Pick of Web Market Central also provided me with his predictions for 2008. My husband would be happy with number 4:
1. The social networking space will begin to implode. There are far too many players currently competing for too few eyeballs. The biggest and strongest (e.g. Digg, MySpace, FaceBook) will survive as general purpose social sites, but smaller players will need to specialize in order to remain viable. Specialization will revolve around affinity groups and demographics.
2. As a follow-on to prediction #1, businesses (at least a few forward-thinking ones) will begin to figure out how to capitalize on the popularity of social networks. It’s not about running ads on YouTube, it’s about participation: if a CEO or anyone else can bring value to a particular community (e.g. through great content and tags, and spending the time for back-and-forth dialog that adds value), then that person’s company and product/service will benefit from indirect association with that expertise.
3. PR professionals will reach out to bloggers in different ways, beyond just pitching press releases. For example, the blog community can bring value as – pardon the language, but it’s the clearest way to say this – bullsh*t detectors, as in “we think we’ve got something really hot on our hands here. We’d like to make this claim. Will that stand up to scrutiny?” and then let the dialog of the blog help determine the answer.
4. Realizing that none of its teams has a prayer of beating New England in the Super Bowl, the NFC sends its All-Pro team to Arizona. The Patriots still win by three touchdowns.
Here are links to other Top Trends for 2008:
- Top Marketing Trends via CRM Blog
- Jon Fine of Business Week via blip.tv
- Consumer Internet Trends via VentureBeat
- The Year of Business Networking from Read/Write Web
- What’s Hot or Not PRSA Panel with top reporters: Wall Street Journal‘s Kara Swisher and Don Clark; Business Week‘s Rob Hof; Forbes‘ Victoria Murphy Barrett; and Scobleizer‘s Robert Scoble. Ann Winblad of venture capital firm Hummer Winblad moderating.
- BtoB’s “2008 Marketing Priorities and Plans” survey
- 2008 IT trends from IDG
- Year of LinkedIn from Anne Zelenka of GigaOm – Personal comment – this truly depends how LinkedIn maneuvers to “catch-up” to the other social networks. Advantage – seen by most as a professional site. Disadvantage – first move advantage taken over by Facebook and slow response to changes for the site.
- O’Reilly’s 2008 Stories they would like to see
- WebWorkerDaily’s 2008 Predictions
- AdAge came out with some interesting 2008 trends: marketers & micro trends, another interesting list, and CMO issues
- David Armano states that 2008 will be the Year of Mobile - what does this mean for PR and marketing opportunities?
- Micropersuasion’s Digital Trends for 2008 – Part I - this is just the first of several that will be posted, so tune in to the Micropersuasion blog for updates.
- Interesting SaaS Trends to watch for 2008
BtoB Magazine presents their 2008 Trends for Email Marketing – By the way, my company actually did point 4 for a client =)
An Eentrepreneur’s US Tech Trends for 2008 - note – this is via VentureBeat and written by Bernard Moon.
- Jeremiah Owyang interviews Guy Kawasaki about his predictions for marketing and tech in 2008. Interesting point, Guy says 2008 will be key for marketers. Demonstrating key value of programs is important for programs.
- B.L. Ochman’s 2008 Marketing Trends - personally, I think privacy has been an issue. It just comes back every few years depending on the technological landscape.
John Battelle’s 2008 Predictions - hmmm, I’m actually curious to see if these company predictions come true. I’m wondering if Microsoft can regain that magic and if Yahoo! can make the turnaround happen.
George Dearing writes his trends for enterprise content management (ECM) in InformationWeek.Adding this because has tangential relevancy to my current company. I’m curious to hear more about platform-as-a-service.
Am I missing any compilations? Do you have any recommendations of other trends for 2008? Let me know in the comments.
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Paul Dunay of Buzz Marketing for Technology interviewed me a few weeks ago on how new media is impacting PR. Check out the podcast here. Even in these short few weeks, I’ve learned so much more from everyone, such as Jeremiah Owyang, Todd Defren, CK, Mack Collier and others. Update: Bad me, I forgot Tom Pick!
Let me know what you think of the podcast.
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I felt that Todd Defren of PR Squared raised an interesting question about marketing tactics by the Commotion Group that I decided to post my thoughts here instead of lumping into my weekly articles. Briefly, the Commotion Group posts “fake comments” to videos to create a sense of controversy, while deleting any negative comments.
Frankly, there’s no argument here. Today’s social media values authenticity highly. The Blair Witch Project was a game. Because it was the first to leverage the Internet in an unique marketing campaign (ploy?), people took it as truth. According to Todd’s post, one of the original producers commented:
While we were building out the (Blair Witch) website and the community, we always knew we were walking a line, but we decided we were not going to try and hoax people outright. The regular members of the Blair Witch community … knew it was a work of fiction … We were not trying to fool anyone …
What the Commotion Group is doing is creating a false impression to dupe viewers into believing that the content is something worthwhile viewing. It isn’t.
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The Blog Bubble? – R. Scott Raynovich of Light Reading has an interesting post on Internet Revolution. Raynovich believes that there will be a crash in blogs in terms of how one can make money and continue drawing an audience. If he’s correct, then those blogs that provide truly interesting content and insight will continue to stay above the noise. I think we may also see the rise of more blog-lomerates (blogging conglomerates) list GigaOm, TechCrunch, VentureBeat and others.
What Millennials Don’t Know – Advertising Age highlights ten marketing myths and their implications for marketers. Sorry Mellennials, the world doesn’t revolve around you!
Hallelujah – The Truth About PR “Relationships” – I read a few PR agency blogs and inmedia is one of the best. In a recent post, inmedia highlight the myth about media relationships resulting in media coverage. As the post concludes: Bottom line: The only thing that has any currency in a newsroom, the only thing any journalist cares about, is the news value of the story. Anyone who tells you otherwise doesn’t understand the news business
Marketing In is Better Than Out – Brian Hulligan of HubSpot wrote this interesting post about how company websites can become better “hubs” for industry information. In this way, your prospective customers can better find you on search engines, blogs and social networks.
Spammers Get Sneaky – I had paid scant attention to what seems to be a security hole in WordPress. Wired highlighted a recent sneak attack on Al Gore’s website. I’m assuming this doesn’t impact the freely hosted WordPress, right?
Consumer Stats for Pitching – MediaPost’s Online Spin blog summarized some interesting data points that were published in Time magazine. Great fodder for those 2008 pitches or for those guys prepping for CES already!
More SEO Tips for Press Releases – Lee Odden of Online Marketing Blog has some useful tips for press release optimization. Lee has advice from some of the leading press release wires. Also check out my previous post about how to select keywords for your press release.
Oh My – You Can Be Fired for CARING Too Much – I’ve just started reading Alec Saunders’ blog. Alec usually covers VoIP and VON related issues, but occasionally brings up issues in his native Canada. This recent post about a customer service rep who is concerned about being fired because she spends time with customers. Sorry Sears, you’re getting the “I Hate Customers” award.
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Cece Salomon-Lee is director of product marketing for Lanyon Solutions, Inc. and author of PR Meets Marketing, which explores the intersection of public relations, marketing, and social media.
This blog contains Cece's personal opinions and are not representative of her company's.
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