October 20, 2014

Refreshingly candid top-tier reporter and her empowering word choice

This month at the PRSA International Conference I witnessed a refreshingly honest admission from a top-tier reporter who is obviously secure in herself as a successful journalist. Hadley Malcolm, personal finance writer at USA Today, was asked whether she preferred to reach out to executives directly or go through a PR person. The typical journalist response […]

September 20, 2014

Creative pop culture link wins big coverage

All the TV season premieres last week reminded me of an awesome pitch I saw over the summer. You’ll learn from its creativity, customization, and brevity. Matthew McWilliams was brainstorming ways to get the small university he represents some buzz. He thought about one of the history profs at his school who studies medieval Europe, […]

August 8, 2014

Surprising approach to pitching the New York Times

This summer I presented at a conference where New York Times reporter Richard Perez Pena was kind enough to sit for a panel about how PR people should work with him. One of the things he said was dumbfounding. I had looked at his recent work – much of it was, frankly, the kind of […]

July 3, 2014

4 ways to cut your email pitch in half

Time-starved journalists and bloggers are always demanding that we get to the point and send ever shorter emails. My recommended standard limit for a cold email pitch is 150 words. Here are some simple, immediately applicable steps to cut your word count. 1. Delete your first sentence. If you’re like almost every PR pro who […]

June 7, 2014

4 ways to place more TV stories

My recent experiences with national and regional TV journalists shows how their business has changed and how we should respond. “Nobody has any money,” said a network producer I spoke to. She was referring to the different newscasts on her network, which each have to pay for the cost of sending a crew to shoot […]

May 29, 2014

The results are in – it pays to pitch media on the Friday before a long weekend

The challenge Last week, right before the Memorial Day weekend, I issued a challenge – and offered a bounty – to subscribers to my weekly pitching tips emails. Here’s the contrarian logic that encourages pitching on the Friday afternoon before a long weekend: The conventional wisdom is to avoid this time because reporters and editors […]

May 1, 2014

Ben Affleck and a giant insurance company: recipe for pitching success?

This article is about a “boring” insurance giant creating some fun media placements out of thin air. Aflac PR executives Laura Kane and Jon Sullivan have been my consulting clients for the past four years, so I’ve had a firsthand seat as they’ve scrapped to come up with new angles to pitch their company. They’ve done […]

April 15, 2014

How to email a strong media pitch

Identifying your real value as a pitching pro The wealthy attorney was cursing while his BMW sputtered and jerked its way into the auto repair shop. He was late for a client meeting and demanded the sole mechanic look at it immediately. The lawyer, clad in his Armani suit, fidgeted in frustration while the grizzled […]

March 8, 2014

How Dwight Schrute helped me place a story in TIME

Here’s the short version of how to use ruthlessly brief pitches and pop culture angles to land placements such as this one on TIME’s web site, which was the second-most read story for several days when it first ran. I was working with a business school professor who coauthored a study about the advantages and […]

December 19, 2013

Warning lights are flashing

Here’s a non-media related thought for you at year-end. Last week all three of these things happened at once: – a warning light came on in the dashboard of my car – a warning light came on in the dashboard of our family car – my primary care physician saw something he didn’t like and […]

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