Inside Pitch Public Relations, Social Media, Marketing, Copywriting, Brand Architecture Tue, 02 Feb 2016 16:35:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Inside Pitch 32 32 DeMarcus Cousins makes off court marketing triple-double for Sacramento Kings. Tue, 02 Feb 2016 16:35:09 +0000

There is a constant debate on whether all employees can be good brand advocates, or that brand awareness and protection, solely lies on a specific team or department within an overall organization.

We learned first hand in the NBA, that you don’t have to be a member of the marketing team, to save a professional basketball franchise from embarrassment.

Sacramento Kings All-star big man DeMarcus Cousins concentration is scoring in the paint, and terrorizing defenses, while racking up the best scoring average in the Association.


Among the last things on the list of his responsibilities is worrying about what promotion the Kings are handing out to the fans.

But he walked in to Sleep Train arena February first, he saw an enormous problem.  On the first day of Black History Month, Cousins discovered that the team had also planned to hand out Lunar New Year shirts featuring “Year of the Monkey.”

Cousins is nursing an injury, who gets paid to concentrate on what’s happening on the court 24/7.  But in that moment, he discovered a wrong he needed to right, even if it wasn’t his wrong.

Cousins immediately took up the issue with Kings staff, and despite having the giveaway planned and advertised, executives used sound judgement in cancelling the promotion.

“I walk into the building and DeMarcus Cousins calls me over to an animated discussion he’s having with Kings operations people,” Kings announcer and former NBA player Marques Johnson revealed on Facbeook. “He ask me, ‘Olskool, what you think about this T Shirt? Told him a little insensitive on 1st day of Black History Month’. They pulled the shirts…”
Obviously Cousins could have kept his mouth shut and let the organization, and team management take the hit.  But he spoke up, in a critical time.

The shirts literally had to be pulled from the seats immediately prior to the game. CaLD-SDUkAAflx8


Without his involvement, the headlines could have been tough, the backlash severe, a fandom – and more importantly a culture – hurt.

While you can’t help but scratch your head at the decision-making of the team’s marketing department for not running through “the worst case” scenario, you can credit the organization for listening to Cousins.

Sure he’s the star player, and he has more ears to Kings management, but he spoke, and they listened.

Marketing decisions may not normally be a slam dunk for Cousins, but in this case, he jammed home a winner to save the brand.

“We all need a lesson in sensitivity,” Kings president Chris Granger told the Sacramento Bee. “In an effort to celebrate Chinese New Year, we had some concerns about the T-shirt giveaway, so we pulled them all before the doors opened. Certainly we don’t want to offend anybody, and we acted as soon as we heard the concern.”

As more companies break down the silos and urge complete synergy between departments, business teams, and from top to bottom from c-level to the mail clerk, this sets a good example of how organizations can encourage internal voices and empower the entire team to have that brand awareness.

Today everyone is watching.  Information, that once remained localized for days before reaching the national level, can travel globally in seconds.  A split second wrong decision can lead to a lifetime of bad feelings and brand damage.

Sometimes you can plan events, promotions and campaigns down to the perfect last detail, but then completely overlook a red elephant in the room.   That’s where the teamwork comes into play.

He also earned praise from others, including Johnson.

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Cousins scored a massive triple-double off the court; big points and new fans for himself and the team avoiding the embarrassing giveaway, he assisted them in understanding the right decision, and most importantly he helped a franchise rebound from what would have been a terrible mistake.

It’s a lesson for companies to notice and pass on internally, because the message is certainly a game-changer beyond basketball.



4 Tools to Stand Out and Make Your Blab Better Mon, 16 Nov 2015 22:59:14 +0000

Chances are, if you like to interact online, and through social media, you’ve taken a good look at the new platform

For those of you that aren’t familiar with Blab, it is live video chat, that also allows for text dialogue to have various conversations simultaneously.

You can also follow users on Blab, like you do on Periscope, Twitter or any other platform.


Blab identifies itself as “a place to watch, join, and interact with live conversations about the topics that matter most to you.”

Blab is also integrated with twitter, and you can find topics by searching for hashtags.

If you have participated in any of the discussions, you know that Blab is a useful tool for exchanging thoughts and information, as well as networking.

I like to think of Blabs as webinars on steroids.  You can have more interaction with a main speaker or speakers, and if you feel so bold, you can pop in with your webcam and engage via livestream.


Here’s a look at a few Blab screenshots.

Now I have not participated in these specific Blabs.  They are merely screen shots to show how the platform works.

I’ll even go one step further into my disclaimer, that what I’m about to say about these Blab screen grabs, has nothing to do with the content, knowledge, or expertise of these fine Blabbers.   I would imagine they all excel in their field.


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Do I love Blab?

I want to.  I really do.

I’ve heard some amazing content on there, and learned some incredible things about social media, marketing, PR, and other topics.

But that nagging TV guy in me can’t help but focus on the lack of aesthetics.

I get it.  We want things immediate, raw, and making an impact.   But I can’t deal with figures in the dark, with bad mics, and dangling wires.

Most importantly, the backdrops.  Sometimes it’s your cubicle, home office, or maybe you even have a desk set up that might give us a glimpse of what’s in the fridge.

Just last week, I watched a Blab from someone’s bedroom.  This might just be my demented mind, but I don’t want to see where you sleep, or give it a second thought about what else you do in that bed.

So does Blab have to look professional?  Of course not.

Can it look better?  Absolutely.

If you take your craft seriously, and you really want to market your brand, here are four tools that can really make you look like a digital broadcasting professional.

**Another disclaimer – I absolutely have no financial benefit in any of the products mentioned – they are all highly rated products that fit in my so-called Super Kit.

Lights, Camera, Action



For a mere $43 plus shipping on, you can give yourself this Neewer lighting kit.  Why?  So people can see you!  You probably don’t even need to use all three lights!  If you shop around, you might be able to get away with buying just one light, or maybe two.

I don’t know if it’s intentional, but I never understand why people go live with a webcam, while stuck in the dark?

The other day, I watched a Blab, where one of the guest speakers had an unfortunate sun spot on her face the entire time.   The sun had just moved into a place where this ray of light was crashing through the window, and splashing her face.

The sun blinded her and washed out the picture for the entire Blab session.

This kit provides evenly distributed lighting towards your face, so people can see you, while you communicate with them.

Cord Cutting

I’m trying to take you seriously, and I’m really into your message, but I just can’t help thinking that you’re just another jogger or teen with those ear buds dangling from your head.

This is really shallow of me, but it’s so tacky!

The solution is really simple: Wireless ear buds.

Again, here on is the Axgio wireless ear bud.


For a mere $17, you can wear essentially the same thing news reporters wear (and most of the time, they aren’t wireless – they are just good at hiding it.)

There are some varying brands on that have one earpiece or two.

You can cut the ear buds, or the clunky Beats by Dre headphones, and look presentable.

Mic Check

No ear buds?   No problem!

How can I talk?

Very simple.


With this wonderful lav mic that plugs into your phone.  You can clip it nicely to your shirt or collar, and run the mic inside your shirt.

No more echo for those not using mics, and no more wires for those who do.

It’s just pure, crisp, clean audio!

I am seeing more and more people buying nicer mic stations for their work desks.  This is great if you broadcast and livestream from the same spot every time.

But a lot of the influencers out there are well-traveled speakers who are livestreaming on the run.  They might be in their hotel room, at the airport, or a borrowed conference room or cubicle.

You can’t Blab on the go with bulky equipment.

This beauty is also on and is $24.

Crossing Lines

This fourth tool really brings together the second and third.


One tiny $7 gadget is all you need, to make the audio in and audio out work in harmony.

This Startech adapter is one of many on

This little piece got a lot of great reviews.  You might also be able to find a similar adapter, with the same functionality, at a better price.

I know, I promised four tools, and so far totaling less than $100 dollars, you are broadcasting cleanly, with nice sound quality and studio-style lighting.

Stream and Repeat

This bonus tool is for the person who typically broadcasts from the same place every time.

While portable, I don’t know that I’d want to roll around with this backdrop, even rolled up in a tube.


eBay seller “SuperCheapBanner” sells 4′ x 8′ step and repeat banners.

These are the banners hanging above Hollywood red carpets at movie premieres, capturing the logo of the movie, and production company, and major sponsor.

At this price, you can customize your banner with your website, social media handles, name, or logos of your sponsors.

This really gives you that professional look that you deserve.

$44 is a bargain to always have consistent brand messaging behind you.

$150 Super Kit

Running a business isn’t cheap, but you can cut down on high production costs with this super kit assembled piece by piece.

Your livestreams will look like top quality and match your insight that you promote to peers, customers, or industry insiders.

If you also Periscope, or make videos for YouTube or your website, this kit is perfect to keep a similar look throughout all of your live and live to web production.

Having a polished look isn’t mandatory, but for such a small price, can you really afford to live without it?

Be the one person in that quad box that looks like they are on top of their game.

I’m confident this kit will help you!











Polls, Stars, Hearts and 140 Characters: Twitter’s Tweaks Tilts Twittersphere Thu, 05 Nov 2015 17:58:31 +0000

When Jack Dorsey took recently over as CEO of Twitter, we knew changes would be coming.


The bearded billionaire simply wasn’t going to stand by, and watch Twitter struggle any longer.   The social media platform hasn’t added any new users in the past six months in the United States.

Social Media analyst firm, Statista, tabulated that Twitter has 316 million users.   That pales in comparison to the 1.4 billion users boasted by Facebook.

We never know how real those numbers are, as some people create and manage a multitude of accounts, but it’s safe to say Facebook has a safe margin of users versus Twitter.

That seems like a head-scratcher to me.   Twitter is an excellent platform for sharing information and ideas, as well as networking.  Hell, it’s an absolute gold mine for breaking news.

My love for Twitter, and the love of many of my social media marketing friends online isn’t enough to grow the platform.


I certainly don’t have a batphone into Dorsey’s office, and my advocacy of Twitter certainly isn’t going to raise the company’s value.

I do wonder what it will take to grow the audience on Twitter.

I’m still having a hard enough time trying to comprehend why some of my former news colleagues, journalists whose careers are made by breaking stories – aren’t on Twitter.

Law enforcement, emergency and Government officials use it to convey information.   Brands engage consumers on it.    Scott Walker announced his short-lived candidacy for President on Twitter.

So, what is Twitter playing with to improve the user interface?

The company started off with adding polls.

If you aren’t familiar with how polling worked before this new addition, tweeters gave their audience a choice between two options, using the RT button in support of one, and the FAV button for the other.

This was a recent example in the Premier League match between Manchester United and Manchester City – a derby – which is a really big matchup between teams from the same area.

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As you can see in this informal poll by BT Sport Football @BTSportFootball, 79 people retweeted in support of Manchester United, and 52 Favorited in support of Manchester City.

Now, this poll surfaced after the polling feature was release, so perhaps BT Sport isn’t with the times, or prefers polling its audience this way.

Here’s how the poll option looks now.  You will see Poll, beside a little pie symbol on your timeline.

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Click on that button to create your magic.

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While, I am not a fan, I created a poll just in case.  As you can see, I had a little fun with it!

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Are you seeing more of these in your timeline?  Do you like them?

Here’s a sampling of people who aren’t hearting the new addition.

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Twitter’s second change, and this apparently bothers more people than the polls, if the above messages are an indicator, is the move to change the favorite icon from a star to a heart.


Twitter introduced the change on November 3rd.

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The corresponding gif played inside the post:



So, how did the Twittersphere react?   My timeline had a few inquiries, from Buffer @Buffer and from Twitter guru Madalyn Sklar @MadalynSklar did the wisest thing, she created a poll!

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Here was one quick reaction from David Boutin @dmboutin.

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David was not alone. His sentiment mimicked by many, including @somecleverthing @Jenthulhu @SassyTexasgal @triptych_Angel and @LaScanner.

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And the biggest change people are bracing for is the rumored change of character limits on Twitter.

There is definitely a range of opinion on this subject.  Some revere the 140 character limit.  Others would like to open up the platform to longer form rants!

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And.. then there are those who dislike long hashtags while trying to have a twitter discussion.  Katie Pavlich @KatiePavlich has a legitimate beef!  I too have noticed lengthy hashtags clogging up character counts.  Oh and (@TheSharona06) doesn’t sound like someone you want to upset!  Her opinion on tweet count complainers is hilarious.

(Sounds like an idea for another blog post.)

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Ben Landis @benlandis brings up a good point, that expansion doesn’t have to lead to gluttony.

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Brittany @minajxknowles addressed changes and rumored changes in one tweet.

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The funniest tweet comes from Buzzfeed’s Michael Rusch, @weeddude who at 125,000 tweets, does not want to see his institution overhauled!

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What will Twitter tweak next?   Only @jack knows.




Why I love the Foo Fighters’ Brand Marketing Everlong Tue, 20 Oct 2015 13:36:39 +0000


There is a huge reason why the Foo Fighters are still one of the world’s biggest bands.  The loud “we’re not going away anytime soon” rock act still battles for musical and money-making supremacy among a sea of popular entertainers like Taylor Swift, One Direction and Justin Bieber.

foo fighters

Dave Grohl simply knows how to make a fan feel like you’re his bro.

He made the best of his recent broken leg situation, by continuing the tour with the help of a wheelchair on steroids, an amp and light-rigged power chair that served as his home base for the 2+ hour shows.

Many never thought that would be the case.  Billboard broke down the numbers in the story, “Will Dave Grohl’s Injury Break the Bank for the Foo Fighters?”

But the Foo Fighters loudly proved Billboard wrong, turning Grohl’s misstep into a massive moneymaker.

It’s times like these, I’d like to pull out the old monkey wrench and take a closer look at the five ways they got something from nothing, and how their marketing team make their brand everlong.

Sonic Highways


With MTV long gone from the days of 24-hour music videos, bands are turning to other outlets for the much-needed exposure.

Some tie themselves to products and hope their small clip in television commercials will piqué the interest of the audience.  The musical ear app Shazam is typically involved in this type of campaign.   It’s never worked for me, but this method of marketing definitely eliminated any question of “hey, who sings the song in this commercial?”

For the Foo Fighters, they went larger than a 30-second spot on ESPN, CNN, or Spike TV.  They went with an 8-episode documentary on HBO on the creative process before, during, and after they make an album.   Some critics dismissed it as infomercial.  And if you liken the series to U2’s freebie release on Apple’s iTunes, you’re probably missing the bigger picture.

In the series, they welcomed the audience to go with them, as they soul-searched for the best inspirations, and locations, for making incredible music.   They made viewers feel like they were part of this spiritual journey.

Viewers became just as invested in this album, as the band itself.   People on fan sites and message boards broke down each episode, like it was an episode of Breaking Bad or the Walking Dead.

As some artists struggle against piracy, the Foo Fighters Sonic Highways album sold 190,000 copies the first week.   The album also captured the hearts of fans of vinyl, and the record hit #1 in its first week release with 12,000 copies sold.

There’s also extra profit being brought in by DVD sales of the series, a double score for the band.

Pop up Shops


In various cities to support the North American tour, the band set up pop up shops for merchandise sales.  These little merch markets featured items that fans could buy leading up to the show.

This allowed the fans to wear their new shirts, hats, jackets, and other assorted gear supporting the tour, to the tour itself.


This only used to happen if you attended night one of a show, and returned for night two, wearing the clothing you had purchased less than 24 hours earlier.

This fueled a frenzy for fans in some cities.   You also have to imagine that walking by a Foo Fighters store might just inspire someone to buy tickets to the upcoming concert.


Why are these shops so great?   If you’re attended rock concerts you know, you typically face four long lines:

  1. The line to get in – security is even tougher and you practically get a prison admittance test, minus the body cavity search, when you enter a show.
  2. The line for beer –  yes 2 per person, with ID if you look under the age of 50.   No matter when you want it, there’s always a line for beer.
  3. The line for the bathroom – if number 2 applies to you, then you certainly experience number 3; the people who spend a while waiting to go number 1.
  4. The line to buy merch!

With the pop up shops conveniently in the heart of town in several major cities, concertgoers figured they could end one of the lines at the show, right?

Geographical Goods

The Foo Fighters struck gold with the help of their marketing department again.   Fans who thought they were good with their one Foo Fighters shirt got a surprise with the merchandise at these shows.

The band creatively marketed to each show specifically, selling merch that matched the metro area!


If you are familiar with some of the major sports teams of Southern California, you will no doubt notice that the Foo Fighters baseball shirt, is quite similar to say a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim shirt.

NBA fans will likely see the similarities in the purple and gold shirt to the right of the Anaheim shirt.

Even the VW bus shirt, is selling California culture, and that experience you feel in Southern California.

If you think people don’t care about geographically branded merch, think again.   Even Gene Simmons would be rolling over in his KISS coffin, kicking and screaming that the ultimate rock salesmen missed the boat on this opportunity.

Maker’s Dozen

If there’s one thing that’s in abundance at a rock show, it is alcohol.   The Foo Fighters marketing team decide to go beyond the beer, and create a cocktail that would be gobbled up by fans.

Introducing the Monkey Wrench.

Monkey wrench cocktail

Of course you could pay $11 for a Maker’s Mark and club soda, or for an extra $4, an orange slice and a cherry on top, you can have a cocktail with a story to tell.

After all, it’s concert law – if it has alcohol in it, people will buy it.


That’s exactly what happened.   If you didn’t have a beer in your hand, you were double-fisting these!   Women all over were tapping glasses together saying “cheers,” while enjoying this well-marketed mixed drink.

I have to admit, it sure looked good.


Halfway through the concert, they ran dry.

This didn’t surprise at all, as I watched several people make their back into the drink line to buy another round.

Whether it was brand bravado or just incredible crisis communications, the Foo Fighters not only avoided a potential mess with Grohl’s leg injury, they cashed in on it.






5 Tips for Pitching Media: Taylor Swift Edition Wed, 07 Oct 2015 13:54:20 +0000

When it comes to media pitching, there are probably 1,989 tips we could give to help you reach your goal.

Today, we are going to give you the 5 tips that will help you in breaking though the clutter of all those pitches found in the media’s inbox and securing the publicity your client desires.

Hooking a journalist is only half of the task. You must also deliver.

Today we use a bit of help from America’s sweetheart, Taylor Swift.


Wildest Dreams


We all want our products on the Today Show, Good Morning America, People Magazine, and the New York Times.   But companies pitching products and services have to take an honest look at the pitch.


You have to ask yourself, “Is this product/story big enough for the media that I’m pitching?”

Looking for 5 more tips for pitching media?  Click here!

If you tell your story right, you can land on the center stage of the biggest media outlets.


But you have to start small. Garner a groundswell of support, and the pick up will come with it.


Think of it as a pyramid.



Too many people want to be at the top immediately.   They have the mindset of “if we land on this big media target, everyone will hear about it.”


But turning your pitch into a viral sensation starts at the bottom.


By hitting the smaller sources and sites, you have a better chance of your story being poached by the aggregators out there.


Think of Buzzfeed.


Their editors and users aren’t grabbing content from the Today Show, unless there is commentary focusing on the subcontext.


Sad but true, the story of the boy who won the academic decathlon isn’t going to be a big viral story. But if he’s picking his nose and eating it while Matt Lauer interviews him, you better believe that video is going viral.


Those Buzzfeed editors and users are miners, they find gold in the most unlikely of places. They have sharp and focused axes to dig deep into the Reddits and youTubes of the world to find the original content.


It’s their spin on your story that can help launch it into viral stardom.


If your stuff is good, have the confidence to get it out there in small doses. Aim for those nooks and crannies where the hot content curators are searching.


Accomplishing that dream of mass exposure happens when you build those content building blocks.   Don’t aim too high when pitching out your product or service unless you have a well-established track record of those placements.


Begin Again


How many times have you taken that call from a telemarketer and it sounds like this?



I think this is a funny and clever ad because they are mocking the fast-talking style of ads made famous in the 70s and 80s.


I can tell you that journalists HATE when someone calls them and unleashes the super-fast; I’m not going to take another breath until you say yes, pitch.


Chances are you don’t like receiving these calls either.




You didn’t spend hours, days, and weeks carefully drafting your pitch, struggling over word selection, and running through a huge approval process to have it lumped in with spam.


Treat the phone call you make (which will likely go to voice mail) to the journalist a very concise and polite one.


Try something like this: Hi. My name is _____, and I represent ____.  I notice you’ve been focusing your coverage on ______.   I think I have an excellent story for you.


Finish that phone call with a pitch that lasts three or four sentences.   You are fighting that journalist from hitting the delete message button.   So make it count.


This would seem like standard information, but I can’t tell you how many voice mails I got where the phone number or email was inaudible.


Speak clearly, be concise, and convey the best information possible, otherwise someone may tell you, “Begin again.”


That’s if they give you a second chance.


Everything Has Changed


If these three words had a sound associated with them, think of nails on a chalkboard.   You know that sitcom pause that’s accompanied by the record-stopping squelch?


If there’s one thing the media remarks after a long day of chasing stories, it is “Couldn’t this have been easier?”


Countless times I sent out a reporter with a specific person to be interviewed, on a specific story, at a specific place, at a specific time.


Here’s an example of this: I send the reporter to a company’s headquarters in a Burbank, to speak with the PR person about a certain toy that is THE must-have toy of the holidays.   The interview is set for 6pm.


But then that dreaded phone call or email/text blast (coward!) comes in.


The interview has moved to Pasadena, at the CEOs home, and he really wants to crow bar in a toy that he’s manufacturing for next year.   He will be available at 7:30pm.


This can really kill a story.


When editors and reporters select stories for coverage, they immediately begin to fantasize about the visuals and information they will collect to put together a great piece.


In this example, they envision the assembly line of widgets, the cases of widgets in the warehouse, and the widgets everywhere. They imagine great footage of conveyor belts moving, forklifts loading trucks, and trucks driving off with these widgets.


They now are going to get a talking head in a suit, holding one or two widgets, interviewed in his living room.


Don’t get me wrong.  There are colorful business leaders and CEOs out there that the media would drool over, if they had a chance to interview them.


But we live in a visual-driven world now.   Whether this is TV, online video, or photographs for print and social media, the imagery tells the story.


Make sure when you pitch a story that the finished product resembles what you promised in the first place.


The media understands that things change.   They more than likely will be the ones who need to change details of a story.


But they expect flexibility from you. You’re at their mercy for coverage and publicity for your product and services.


Sometimes this means you may have to play hardball with your boss to make sure that the media outlet will still be interested.


If things must change, convey those changes quickly, and make auxiliary accommodations to make sure that the story exceeds expectations.


We are Never Getting Back Together

Break-ups can be messy.


For public relations professionals, amateurs and marketers, certain things can derail your career if you can’t develop and keep your relationships with the media.

Here’s a list of a few things to avoid getting on the wrong side of the media:


  • Spam
  • Lying
  • Pitching to the wrong person
  • Spam
  • Pitching a subject that the intended target never covers
  • Not answering return calls/emails
  • Spam
  • Not delivering what you promised
  • Disrespectful behavior
  • Spam
  • Inconsiderate of their time
  • Unprofessionalism
  • Spam


This list could go on and on, but you get the picture.


The media knows it can reach out to any restaurant for holiday recipes, event catering stories, fall cocktail creations etc.


If you blow it with the media, your restaurant isn’t going to get the coverage it seeks.   More importantly the media could take your idea to your competitor.


Too many times, PR people, even the pros, walk in with an attitude like they are doing the media a favor for participating in that story.

Looking for 5 more tips for pitching media?  Click here!

About 99% of the time that just isn’t the case.


Now if you represent Justin Bieber, the President of the United States, a hard-to-get CEO, or a regular Joe that’s an incredible exclusive, then you hold the power.


Otherwise, keep your ego in check, and realize that the media doesn’t have to publicize your product, service, or person.


Just because the media interviewed your subject, that doesn’t guarantee that the story will go live at any point.


I’ve experienced situations where someone has been rude to a producer, reporter, or editor after they had wrapped on the story.   The story never made it to air.


Stay courteous and helpful the entire time you work with the media, and ensure that your clients do the same thing.   The CEO of the company you represent may think he’s a real big shot.   In the world of widgets, he may be.   But with the media, he’s most likely a drop in the ocean of business people.


Blank Space


“…And I’ll write your name.”


Public relations and media pitching is fun.   It’s an awesome experience to see the process out from developing a media press release, and then fine-tuning your elevator pitch for phone calls, and quick face-to-face meetings.


Your press release is blank space, and if a journalist agrees to take your story, they are working with a blank space too.


Bloggers have the most flexibility. They don’t answer to editors.   They crave great visuals, great quotes, and of course free stuff!


Realize how wide the scope is, and how limitless the possibilities are when pitching people.   Don’t be afraid to try something exciting to promote your client.


Have several versions ready for the same pitch, so if print takes the story one way, you can tweak it for TV, and then for the web.


Bloggers like individuality.   They don’t want the same four photos of your product as the other bloggers in their niche.


If you’re pitching pizza for an Italian restaurant, don’t send bloggers the same four professional photos of pizza.


Deliver them several pizzas, take them into the kitchen to make pizza, let them get authentic photos of people (usually themselves) eating slice after slice. Go crazy, and make something unique and extraordinary for them.


Think Foodbeast and how nearly every food brand wants an in with the Franken-food giants!


Many small businesses and new public relations people miss the concept that PR is a blank space.   Sure there is a certain pitch approved within the company structure that you follow, but it doesn’t mean you can’t deviate or spice it up.


Be daring and bold promoting your product.   You will earn success and you will build relationships with the media as a professional that is reliable, pleasant and easy to work with.


Believe it or not, you could have the best product on the planet, but if you’re rude, unprofessional or sloppy, you may not get the exposure you expect.


That’s the inside pitch.


Need Content marketing, public relations, or social media help for your client, product, and service?   Inside Pitch can help generate buzz for your business.   We are a brand boombox working with communities to build your reputation and exposure.   Visit our contact section and talk to us about your business.

Have a comment?  Reach out to us on Twitter, username @JS_InsidePitch, or email at Jeff (at) Insidepitch (dot) com and share your ideas and strategies, as well as ask any questions you have about making the most of your media pitch.


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Twitter Debuts Moments: The New Social Media Storyboard Wed, 07 Oct 2015 03:55:07 +0000

If you use Snapchat, or more likely your child, you know the emphasis is on Snapchat stories – events that happen in succession captured with photos and videos.

For example if you attended a wedding, you might snap a photo of yourself, the church, the bride walking down the aisle, the couple exchanging rings, kissing, and walking down the aisle together as man and wife.

If you’re using Snapchat, you’re compiling these events and beaming them out in Snapchat story, and all your friends can see the wedding unfold, long before the last grain of rice hits the ground.

Twitter has introduced Moments, a Snapchat like story telling platform within the Twitter application.   It allows you to catch up to various events that have happened throughout the day under several categories.  They are:

  • Today
  • News
  • Sports
  • Entertainment
  • Fun

You can find some various stories in all these, as they are the standard headlines that you’d find in most content sites.


Right now, I don’t see if there’s a personal Moments section for you to tell your own story to your followers, but I imagine it’s only a matter of time.

Here is an example of one story featured today.   As many would expect, Tom Hanks is a pretty cool dude.   And why wouldn’t he be, right?

Well Mr. Hanks was taking a walk in the park and he happened to find the ID of a Fordham college student.

Here’s how it played out visually, with some text.  Here is the headline, and a swipe to the right reveals the first panel of the story.

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The first swipe is a post by Hanks, with a photo of the found ID.

One of Lauren’s friends stumbled onto the post and quickly tagged Lauren on Twitter.


Another friend quickly interacted with Hanks, about the woman in question.





A cool way to get a story in a few pictures and posts.

If you have the app on your phone, I recommend you give it a whirl.

Will Moments be enough to boost Twitter?   While the social media platform boasts hundreds of millions of users, it still trails Facebook, which now has over one billion users worldwide.

I like to receive my news this way.   It seems like this is Twitter’s answer not only to Snapchat, but Flipboard, and the new Apple News.

With so many posts on a given subject, the Moments application could be really cool.

Only time will tell.

That’s the inside pitch on Twitter’s Moments.


5 Tips for Pitching Media: Depeche Mode Edition Wed, 30 Sep 2015 14:49:00 +0000

When it comes to pitching the media, we all want some great reward.

Not all pitches are the same.

The same can be said about media, they are vastly different from one to the next.

Before I entered the marketing, PR and social media field, I spent years as a TV news executive.

Publicists and business owners hunted me down with thousands of bad pitches via snail mail, fax, email, phone, and special delivery that failed to get the exposure they sought.

If you are struggling to break through the clutter and get your client, product, or service exposure, these simple tips will provide best practices to pitch media.

I am here to help you avoid making the common mistakes that frustrate journalists, and steer you towards achieving maximum success.

These are today’s top 5 tips for pitching the media.

Today we employ a little bit of help from 1980s new wave act Depeche Mode.

Get the Balance Right

PR pros are very good at schmoozing journalists to make sure their pitches are heard.

New business owners and startups aren’t as savvy.

I’ve worked with startup companies marketing a product or service.

Oftentimes, it’s a very small team, with everyone doing a little bit of everything.

Sometimes they miss the finesse of balancing out a pitch.

Do not try to promote your brand or pitch media with a generic, carbon-copied release or email.   Those pitches are certainly destined for the physical or virtual trash can.

These generic releases and emails lack any kind of personal touch, or attempt at making a connection.   They just scream “I DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE, OR WHAT YOU ARE DOING, BUT STOP, READ MY RELEASE, AND RUN WITH IT!”

Before you hit media with a page or two about why your client, product, or service is the greatest thing since sliced bread, introduce yourself, and convey that you are familiar with that journalist’s work.

Editors, reporters and bloggers like to be acknowledged for the content they have produced.

Sending in a pitch about a client, product, or service that’s all about me, me, me, will not spark the interest of a journalist.   There needs to be some recognition of that person’s work, or some kind of understand that you know what this person has been working on.

For example, if you’re pitching a new car wax that will make clunkers seem like they were just driven off the lot for the first time and you’re targeting the auto reporter, cite a few of their stories about car restoration or protection.

Try an intro like, “Mr. Smith, I am familiar with some of your past columns/posts on protecting your car’s paint, and maximizing the resale value of your car.   I think I might have a product that your readers would be interested in, that would help protect their auto-investments.”

The information highway is a two-way street.

Nobody wants to be bombarded with a hard sell out of nowhere.

Show some evidence that you did some work to identify that they are the right journalist for the story.

The balance between what the journalist has done, how his/hear readers will benefit, and how your product/service/client enhances that coverage will help earn you the publicity you are looking for.

Never Let Me Down

You hooked the media with a great pitch, and they want you for that TV spot, newspaper column, or blog.   Your job isn’t over.

Making a story come to life doesn’t stop with connecting a client with the media.

Media personnel deal with quick deadlines and antsy editors.

They crave great visuals, detailed information, and compelling sound or quotes.

They need your help to put together a piece that sings.

They don’t want to be hunting you down for a .jpeg or a video file that you should have already sent over before the interview takes place.

When an editor green lights a journalist to cover a piece, they have a vision of how that piece will turn out.   Don’t let them down.

I can’t tell you how many times, someone pitched me a story that I approved for a reporter that failed to materialize.

It happened way too many times.

If you pitch a story about a family whose Christmas presents were stolen, and your company is replacing their Christmas, make sure that family has agreed to let their name and face to be used in the story.

Editors and more importantly, the audience wants to hear the emotion from the main subjects.

The quickest way to be blackballed by a media outlet is failing to deliver on your pitch.

Provide extra images and video clips well ahead of interviews, and always have a second subject lined up, or in attendance, when an interview is scheduled.

If you fail to deliver, the media will likely ignore your calls and emails next time.

Policy of Truth

Photo Credit: Tristan Schmurr

This would seem to go without saying; however, I can’t begin to tell you how many lies, mistruths, and little fibs I have been told covering stories.

The biggest one is the event where the big celebrity is supposed to show, and doesn’t.

Publicists and event organizers seem to get confused about who was asked to attend, and who confirmed their attendance.

Be truthful about who is showing up, and more importantly what time they are showing up.

With deadlines that are very frequent, reporters and editors can’t sit around all day waiting for the guest of honor to arrive.

If you say your spokesperson is going to be there at 6, make sure they are there and ready to speak.

This should be a no-brainer.

If you pitch it, make sure it is true.

Just Can’t Get Enough

There is always the chance that a media outlet likes your pitch, but can’t commit full resources to your story.

What you envisioned for a feature on page one of the major paper, or as a 2:00 story on the local news, may end up being a blurb somewhere else.

That’s why it’s important to put all of the relevant information into your release and email.

Don’t leave anything behind for a big reveal, or secret major announcement.

If the press runs with your story, make sure they have all the facts and quotes to tell your story right.

It’s key that you provide them with more than enough information to represent your story well.

If you don’t like what they end up doing with it, you’ll have two options: suffer with it as it is, or request that the story be taken down.

Obviously, that’s easier said than done if your story actually makes it to print, or airs on TV.

No journalist likes the guessing game, and more importantly, they really dislike going back on a story they thought they had in the can.

Question of Time

Everyone believes his or her time is valuable.

You wouldn’t want to sit on a 90 minute sales call if you knew you weren’t going to make a purchase.

Journalists are always on deadline.

They already give up much of their personal lives to maintain and survive professionally.

They work long days in the field, and they often work outside of their normal business hours (whatever those are) to set up future stories.

Take as little time as it needs to pitch them, and you will have a better chance of grabbing their attention.

Once you are confirmed to work with them, deliver all helpful assets early and in one package.

When you come face to face with the media:

  • Keep the pace moving.
  • Make sure your CEO isn’t long-winded.
  • Don’t let your interview subjects approach journalists with off-topic items.

If things are concise and easy to put together, there’s a strong chance the next time you pitch something, that journalist will be interested.

This will only help you in the long run build a meaningful relationship with the media.

With a little help from Depeche Mode, these tips will keep you from being a violator of the media.  If you can really nail your pitch, your content may become music for the masses.

That’s the inside pitch.

Need Content marketing, public relations, or social media help for your client, product, and service?   Inside Pitch can help generate buzz for your business.   We are a brand boombox working with communities to build your reputation and exposure.   Visit our contact section and talk to us about your business.

Have a comment?  Reach out to us on Twitter, username @JS_InsidePitch, or email at Jeff (at) Insidepitch (dot) com and share your ideas and strategies, as well as ask any questions you have about making the most of your media pitch.


Meerkat and Periscope are Potential Game Changers for Social Media Tue, 14 Apr 2015 18:50:33 +0000

There’s quite the interesting race for live streaming across social platforms. meerkatperiscope-logo-1920-800x450

If you are familiar at all with the history of live streaming, you are probably familiar with the predecessors of Meerkat and Periscope, Livestream and Ustream.

I used Ustream more than ten years ago to broadcast a fire live on local TV news in Los Angeles. It was gritty and mobile connectivity speeds weren’t as fast as they are now. But the live stream did the job of relaying breaking news.

But those old apps never caught on much with the general population, and they certainly didn’t have the integration that Meerkat and Periscope have with social media, specifically Twitter.

You can find feeds through your Twitter feed. I follow lots of influencers who routinely broadcast on these formats. One is the great Guy Kawasaki. His twitter handle is @GuyKawasaki.

Guy has broadcast some of his speeches and presentations the last few weeks, and this opens the door for people who want to attend speaking engagements, but simply cannot travel the world like Guy does!

So here’s a look at the interfaces of both platforms, starting with Meerkat.




As you can see, my score is a zero, because I’ve yet to broadcast on Meerkat. What you get on the front screen is a look at all of the people broadcasting. They could be in a meeting, having coffee, or doing a walk-and-talk. I found a Meerkat session from Mashable titled “Our edtiros @AmandaWillis @StephMBuck serving up your daily news update.”


The interface is different, as you see avatars of all of the viewers fly across the top of the screen.

The chat function is very similar to Periscope. The chat session is a fixed feed on Meerkat vs. A post and vanish chat function on Periscope.

Here is look at the Periscope interface:


As you can see at the time of this screen grab, There was nobody live streaming that I follow. But I did find Martin Jones of Cox PR. I am interested in Cox PR, as I follow the PR efforts of their Automotive Group.

The quality is a little more grainy, and as you can see it’s bagel day in Atlanta for the Cox group, who had fun trying out this app before the start of their PR meeting.



It’s too early to tell which app will emerge as the preferred app for live streaming. Each app is making tweaks on the fly and responding to user comments pretty quickly.

My suggestion is to try both apps out. I don’t think you need to choose between one or the other right now. Enjoy both as a viewer and a broadcaster.

For more discussion on the Meerkat and Periscope apps, here are a few of my favorite articles:

  • The Meerkat vs. Periscope debate is heating up Why Periscope/Meerkat are genuine game changers
  • Periscope vs Meerkat: Which Is the Best Live-Streaming App
  • Periscope updated but still too early to decide a winner: #Periscope vs #Meerkat by @danielnewmanUV via @iSocialFanz





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