Sabina Hitchen's blog


How to Make the Most of your Spring/Summer Trips: Expert on Tour

It's that time of year when many of you are planning  quick getaways for your spring or summer vacations.  Even if this only consists of a road trip, here's an idea that could possibly net you more brand buzz, more sales, and give you a couple hours of "fun work" to log, meaning you can enjoy the rest of your vacation that much more!

Expert on Tour:

While packing your swim trunks or hiking gear for your upcoming vacations/road trips, be sure not to forget your media kits and a great tv outfit - as it could well be time to take your expertise or cool business story on the road!  If you have a business that can share some seasonal tips (lean meals for summer, how to create a staycation at home, family road trip advice,  must-haves for summer fashion, how to keep the kids out of trouble in the summer, etc) or if you are an expert with a great story and bit of advice to share, why not think ahead and try to book yourself some press in the city you are visiting.

Why not?  This is what pr firms do, why shouldn't you?  Call ahead to news stations in your destination city and pitch yourself as an expert on tour.  Have a one-sheet ( one page:  short bio, talking points, headshot) and some great segment ideas ready to go.

Be sure you include contact information and the times and dates you will be available.  Any old reels or media you have that can support you as an expert is great to include here as well!  Then pitch and follow up beginning 6-8 weeks before your arrival, in order to time their calendar. 

The more seasonal or relatable the story the better - so think about how you can spin yourself into a great short lead story!

TIP:  to find the best media information for the city you are visiting just google their local news stations and call the information desk or news desk number, which is always provided online.  Bonus points if you read through the website first to get familiar with the studio and networks style and reporters!

Bon Voyage!

Don't Send a Naked Sample, and Other Rules about Mailing Products & Media Kits

We've been taught since we were young not to judge a book by its cover.  Unfortunately when sending out anything from your media kit to a sample, that's often exactly what happens.  Because of this, there are certain rules you must always follow to be sure that a) your product gets to exactly where it's going, b) people know what it is and all the information about it they need and c) th

What Worked: Pitches

Yesterday I had a lovely afternoon chatting with another female entrepreneur, partly to catch up and partly to celebrate a slam dunk she had with her own pr campaign - Crains and NPR - great, serious business plugs!

Of course I was thinking of all of you and how I could translate her success at pitching those outlets into yours!  Then I began thinking, as the president of an agency that has placed clients everywhere from O Mag to CNBC, and with the great fortune of working with amazing strategists, entrepreneurs, and publicists who have done the same for themselves and others, why not show you real examples of what worked?  

And so it was written!  What Worked: Pitches will launch this week, and I will search far and wide for real examples and anecdotes of what worked that YOU can use!

Stay tuned, this week we will begin with Crain's Business & NPR!  If you yourself have a great pitch that worked, send it to us, and perhaps you'll find you and your business in  a What Worked: Pitches blog soon!

Happy Pitching!



It's Mother's Day in Short Lead Media!

Hey Ladiesssss!

Happy Monday!  To steal a line from Sesame Street, "M is for Monday's"  and it's also for Mother's Day!  If you are a product that would make a great Mother's Day gift now is the time to reach out to your short lead outlets and not a moment later!  May is also sweeps time for television which means competition is even stiffer so be sure your pitch pops!

Short lead, constituting blogs, newspapers, radio, and television (as well as any weekly magazines) are already planning their Mother's Day issues.  Have you submitted your line sheets, samples, or pitches?  If so you should definitely be in follow-up right now! 

Be sure you keep your pitch quick and to the point and make it clear via your headline why you are emailing them.  For instance, be sure to mention if it's:

Eco-friendly Mother's Day Gifts
Under $100.00
Under $25.00

When you pitch rememeber to quickly introduce yourself, explain why their readers/viewers would enjoy the product, and be sure you have a great looking website with a functioning cart to share with them.  Don't send attachments, and copy/paste your most recent press release in the body below your pitch for more information.

Clock is ticking!  Get moving!

Your Local Press: How & When to Pitch

Telling your story to your local press is key to your company's publicity campaign plan.  Whether you live in New York City or San Diego, pitching your local news has multiple benefits:

It's less competitive than your national news stations, and a local story with an interesting, trendy angle which both female entrepreneurship and small business are:

Is easier to land than a coveted spot on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

It can convert to quick sales and perhaps local retail interest, local partnerships, and allows you to create
relationships with the press for future stories.

Local press allows you to practice for the "big leagues" and get footage for a reel, necessary for national
television press

You can severage your local and regional media hits!  Local press often turns into more local press of different mediums such as newspaper and radio.

That said there are specific ways you should go about pitching your local television stations:

Watch the station you wish to pitch and decide what time slots and segments you fit into the best. 

Call at an opportune time, ie, know when not to call...If you are reaching out to a producer or even the news desk during there larger news hours (drive time before or after work, lunch news, evening news) your chances of having a useful and unrushed pitch are slim to none.  Reach out after the morning news or after the lunch news break when things have slowed down. 

Don't forget weekends and holidays: Just because most of the working world has weekends off doesn't mean the news desks close down.  Reaching out to producers and assignment desks is actually much easier on weekends and after hours.  You are competing with fewer callers (including go get 'em publicists) and it's also a great time to find the producers who cover weekends segments, which tend to be lighter and not heavy news, what many of your stories most likely will be.

Create a reputation as a local expert in your area of expertise.  This way when a breaking national news story that you can address occurs, you will be the first they call, or when you reach out to them after seeing a story you can bring a new angle to (which you should) you will be a familiar and trustworthy source.

Reach out and get your company active in your community - another great way to raise visibility.

Let them know you have great: visuals, facts, food, drinks....all great ways to lure in the press.

Finally, when you do a segment, be easy to work with, organized, and always send a thank you note. 

Great first impressions often lead to second and third opportunities!

**Core Members:  Can't find the number for a local news station?  Email us and we'll put it into our media database asap!

How to Stay up-to-date with Oprah

Oprah - we all know that even when I tell you to stop focusing on her program you won't, so I figured I'd give you a few pointers....

I was talking to one of the executive producers at Harpo yesterday, and she let me know that they are currently working on their April programs so first of all, know that they are only about 3-4 weeks ahead in lead time at the if you are pitching, pitch accordingly.  Other pointers that will work?  Take some notes from our playbook!

* Go online and check out what the producers are looking for:  A show like the Oprah Winfrey Show creates amazing programming because they have outstanding producers creating it, and if you want a quick and easy sneak peek (and a chance to submit your brand for an appropriate story) just go to their website to see what they are working on next:

* Think seasonally, 3-4 weeks ahead, and big!  Pitching a product will most likely not get you a segment.  They may hold it for a future gift guide, or if it's appropriate for a different topic show, but you should really be thinking about how your story fits into a larger concept, and perhaps even bring a few more brands in on the pitch.

*  Remember that Oprah is now doing Hot Topics a la The View.....if you have a cool product or are part of a hot topic, this would be a better place to pitch.

* At Oprah there are actually groups of producers who are working on things in teams.  They have a schedule that shows what their specific shows are that they need to fill, as well as what other teams are working on.  If you create a great relationship with one, they can often find out who to pitch if they are not your best bet.  Want to get to know the teams and their styles?  Join them on Facebook!!  Read the Producers Blogs in the show's Facebook Group. 

* Watch the show!  Sounds silly I know, but if you haven't watched since you were in college you really don't know the current style and content.  Want to be an even better detective?  When you see an episode that is similar to content you cover, watch to see who produced it....this is the producer you should target for your pitch!

FINALLY....the more press you get in other outlets and in other venues, the more likely the producers will see you or hear about you and have you in mind for another segment!

Go get em!


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