It's Oprah Time!
Today while rushing out my door I ran smack into two women who were ringing the doorbell to disccuss the topic of "Technology: Blessing or Curse?". Ironically I was juggling my iPod, Blackberry, carrying a laptop, and staring at an iTouch when this collision occurred.
Needless to say I was in a hurry, mildly frazzled and in no mood to talk to strangers about something that I had no interest in at the moment (though I'll admit it was a great topic for a coffee break, just not for the first few minutes of my morning). Just as I was opening my mouth to tell them how late I was and that I was not interested in whatever they were selling, the lead woman did the following:
Smiled calmly and looked into my eyes
Handed me the flier
Said "I know you weren't expecting us and we don't want to take any of your time, just wanted to share this information about (insert info on their mission here) and leave you with this follow up information" in a kind and clear manner.
Introduced herself and asked what my name was (I automtaically answered)
Said thanks and have a nice day
Was on her way
Before I knew it I had stopped disliking them, I had grabbed the pamphlet and stuck it in my bag, I had given her my name and smiled back at her, and I had listened to her entire "pitch" which took about 30 seconds max.
This is a perfect example of pitching come to life and we can all take valuable reminders from it:
Don't tell them your whole life story and purpose just give 'em the points that matter
Introduce yourself and smile (even smile on the phone, it changes the pitch I swear)
Ask for their name - make that personal connection
Keep it short and sweet, speak clearly and calmly, and then acknowledge you appreciate and respect their time
Leave them something (whether a follow-up email, a media kit, a press release, a link to your site)
Be gracious and move on
These are techniques that apply whether you're pitching via email, the phone, in person or clearly door-to-door. If someone can pitch me when I'm rushing off to catch a morning train, they can surely work on editor or producers!
Deskside appointments. You may or may not have heard of them, but chances are if you are a product based company whether it's food or baby toys or fashion-based or a beauty product, you'll need to conduct them at some point during your quarterly pr outreach.
Fashion Week has descended upon New York City, and that means we've been following the Tweets, Facebook updates, and blogs of some of our favorite fashionistas and writers.
Nearly every day we hear your stories about the great press you're getting, and after we see your great hits we are inevitably asked "what do I do now?"
In order to make this easier for you here's a handy checklist of what to do when you get press - whether it's a blog or a magazine or television.
When talking about pitching the morning shows like the Today Show, whether you are on the publicist side of the fence or the client side, everyone knows there is a Holy Grail that many small businesses are reaching for - a Trifecta of placements for the pr side of a campaign. Without a doubt they tend to be: Oprah, the Today Show, Good Morning Amer
Holiday 911: Who you should be pitching now, and should you buy the "holiday list" - le't's talk!
In the spirit of the overabundant amount of "Christmas in July" sales, and the fact that publicists across the country are currently pitching their clients feverishly for holiday gift guides, I thought I'd let you in on some secrets to ensuring you have a fair go at getting yourself into a holiday gift guide. As always, with PR there is never one right answer, one right pitch, and one right tactic because at the end of the day it's a science based on relationships, what certain editors want at certain moments, price points, how well prepared you are, and luck.
That said, following certain key rules will help you get ahead of your competition and stay on top of pitching:
* Remember that holiday is a long lead. The magazines will begin hitting the newsstands in November, which means they will be those magazines that are working 3-6 months ahead are working on their holiday issues right now.
* There is no solid system with magazines regarding which editors cover the gift guide. Sometimes it's several, sometimes it's an assistant, sometimes it's a freelancers....you get it! Because of that the best way to find out who is covering the gift guide is to check with the editorial assistant at the magazine. Just simply ask who is covering the gift guide, and reach out to that editor for the guides rules and regulations.
* Be sure you have prepared a holiday pitch prior to reaching out - in pr time is of the essence and if you hesitate or wait too long after finding out who covers the gift guides you may miss your chance. So be sure you have a pitch (that you can adjust and spin to different outlets depending on what they need), product photos, a functioning website, and retial photos available. KNOW what your holiday offerings are, and know them well, don't play a guessing game when it's crunch time.
* Title your subject line of your pitch emails something with the words "holiday gift guide" in it so they know what they are getting, and if you know the specific gift guide topic include that and your product in the title.
* Be sure the pitch is short and sweet and to the point, links to your site, and includes bullets that share your features (low price, great value, eco-friendly, a must-have for tweens etc).
* Work fast - some holiday gift guides are going to print this coming week!
* Don't purchase pre-fabbed gift guide contact guides - they editors are changing constantly, as are the topics, and many of these guides do not provide you with enough information as is. It's best to reach out by phone and email - not only will you be sure to get the correct information, but you will also begin creating lasting relationships with the media.
* Collective E Members - don't forget to continuously use your media contact lists and editorial calendars provided for you on the website to ensure you're able to work quickly and efficiently! Also - CORE members you will receive updates on the holiday gift guide editors as we will share several who have reached out needing product, along with other relevant information about their gift guide lists.