4 reasons why PR pitching is an art form

By Scott Signore   This Post can Originally Be Found Here

Editorial pitches are opportunities for expression.

Artists have paint, clay, marble, video, mosaics, and many other media with which to express themselves. PR pros have email, direct messages on Twitter, InMail on LinkedIn, and plenty of other communications channels. Editorial pitching provides us PR professionals with a creative channel for securing a story.

It’s an art form, too, and here are four reasons why:

First, a PR pitch offers the practitioner unlimited creativity. You know the charge at hand and can accomplish your goal—connecting with a key writer or editor and seeing that they give attention to your story idea—in any manner that is appropriate.

The words you use count so much. You might be succinct or detailed, punchy or rich with metaphor or vignettes. Each pitch is a clean canvas and every outreach an attempt to inspire a specific reaction. It’s exciting, as every communication is another opportunity for success.

Second, like an artist working on a commissioned piece, it’s crucial that you consider the audience before getting started.

That’s typically both the audience (reporters) and the audience’s audience (editors and readers). The better you capture the imagination of the reporter with your initial outreach, the better the chances he or she will be inspired to “sell” the idea to editors and, ultimately, disseminate the story to legions of your client’s preferred readers.

Third, just as when you see a painting and are moved by what it attempts to convey, you know right away if your PR pitch struck a chord when you hear back (immediately and positively) from your editorial target. It’s a thing of beauty when your creativity captured the interest of your intended subject and inspired action.

Fourth, the preceding point is particularly true if your pitch was highly personalized for and delivered to a priority writer or editor, whose coverage often results in a landslide of other writers covering the same topic. It’s valuable to create the pitch that keeps on giving, paying dividends long after the client’s last check has cleared.

Can you think of other ways that editorial pitching constitutes an art form? Please off your thoughts in the comments section.

Scott Signore is the principal and CEO of Matter Communications. A version of this story first appeared on the agency’s PR Whiteboard blog

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11 Things the Media Does That Piss Off PR

By Patrick Coffee  This post can originally be found here

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But you said you liked the pitch!!!

Last week we ran a guest listicle about the top things public relations flacks do that piss off our media contacts. We’ve seen a lot of these lists, and the whole thing sometimes feels like a bit of a one-sided conversation, so in a follow-up post we asked our readers to suggest some points from the other side of the screen. Here, without further ado, are eleven things the media does that really irritate PR.

1. Greeting pitches with total silence:

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We know you have more important things to do, but unless we’re pitching you something as ridiculous as the “woman-proof car” you could at least write a simple “No, not interested.

We know that PR can be annoying sometimes and that a few a fair number of bad apples threaten to spoil this bunch, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to ignore all of us. You can be snide if you want (we expect it) and you don’t even need to include a fancy salutation or a “thanks so much for sharing!”

2. Answering the phone like a jerk:

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At a party this week, we spoke to a prominent tech journalist who said he’s perfectly happy to answer the phone but that the junior flacks tasked with calling him are often so nervous that he has to give them some “take a deep breath and read the script slowly” guidance. This is OK, but some writers take it much further by behaving like reps are tax collectors or divorce lawyers. Do you really want to confirm your own negative stereotypes?

3. Refusing to use the phone at all:

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Not taking cold calls is one thing; we know how bad those can be. But insisting that we contact you via email and sit on our hands waiting for you to email us back? Come on, people. If you don’t follow up after promising to do so, then it’s perfectly reasonable for us to call.

4. Evading us completely:

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Dude. If you don’t like the pitch just say it. We know you’ve been crazy busy, but there’s a reason we want to make sure you plan to quote our client in your upcoming trend piece: by the time you publish it’s too little, too late.

5. Forgetting the client’s name during an interview:

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PRWeek says this happens nearly half of the time, because what the hell? Could anything be more dismissive than making clear that you don’t know or care who you’re talking to after the interview begins? Were you planning to brush up on names, addresses and “what the hell you do for a living” info during the call?

6. Deviating from the topic at hand:

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Why do you think we insisted that you not ask about our client’s pending divorce, rehab visit or failed business venture?! Do you know the meaning of the word “conditional?”

7. Expecting us to deliver resources at the last minute:

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Yes, you have a deadline. Yes, you’d really love for us to give you a quote in the next 15 minutes. No, that is not a realistic request. There’s a reason we pitched the source three days ago!

. Not letting us know when a story goes live:

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How can we promote the story you posted when we don’t know that you posted it? It’s not like we Google stalk you every hour; you’re not the only writer we know.

It is always comforting to hear the calming sounds of a pissed-off client who gets home in time to see the last five seconds of a three-minute interview filmed earlier in the day. The DVR wasn’t set, the reminder wasn’t in the iPhone and, most importantly, the PR rep didn’t call. Appreciate that help, guys.

9. Agreeing to an interview/product review and never writing about it:

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Hey, where did you go?

It is fun when we can secure a spot, jump through hoops of fire to send you the product or schedule the interview, follow-up to confirm that—against all odds—you actually liked it…and then wait five months for you to kindly let us know that it got “bumped” while we try to tell our clients why the story never appeared. If you just want free stuff, you can make that clear up front.

10. Procrastinating on writing an “exclusive” story and then getting mad when we pitch it somewhere else:

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Yes, the agreement was “exclusive” when we discussed it, but you know these things are time-sensitive. As far as next week or month, we have a job that relies on securing that placement rather than watching you drag your feet. If you have other obligations we totally understand, but you could have shared that news with us.

And waiting until the “exclusive” shows up somewhere else to get upset? Just look at how sorry Peggy Olsen feels for you.

11. Generalizing about how much “those people” suck:

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Yes, some of us are eager beavers who can’t understand why you wouldn’t want to take our ridiculous story. And some of us are condescending old-school haters ready to tell anyone who’ll listen that you wouldn’t even be able to do your jobs without us. Most of us, however, are neither of those things—and complaining about how much you hate PR isn’t going to make things better. We have feelings too, you know? (Well, the ones that are good at this job. The rest of us are cold-hearted bastards.)

Now we have to make a confession as members of “the media”: this blog is guilty of a couple of these cardinal sins, primarily #1 and #3. We also sometimes pull #2 and #8 and, after a few drinks, a tiny little bit of #11. We apologize and we promise we’ll do better.

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Sound good? OK.

Now come on, readers: we know you have some points to add to this GIF-athon. Don’t be shy.

DISCLAIMER: This post was written as a light parody of the relationship between hacks and flacks and the stereotypes each side holds about the other. We thought the tags and GIFs would give that away.

What to Consider as you Plan for Next Year

By:   This post can originally be found here

Early December is generally the time you start presenting PR plans for the next year. Pulling together a yearlong PR plan is a boatload of work. Last year, I pulled together some tips for planning for the New Year, but also found the below tidbits to be extremely helpful this year.

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  • Results of 2013. What worked/what didn’t work. Replicate and revamp tactics that worked.
  • Next year’s trends. What’s going to be trendy next year? In food, fashion, beauty, art. Categories beyond just your clients.
  • National holidays. Make note of those that your client should get involved in. Including national food and beverage holidays.
  • Movie premieres. Look up movie premieres in 2014 and see if there’s anything your client can tie into.
  • New social platforms. Thinking beyond just Twitter and Facebook – what are those other social platforms that are on the rise? More and more brands are joining Snapchat for example.
  • Media you haven’t tapped. What media is your target audience reading/ watching. Where haven’t you been featured? Brainstorm ideas on how to be a part of these outlets.
  • Brainstorm everywhere. The subway, in the shower, at the gym. Sometimes you come up with your greatest ideas out of the office.

What other factors do you consider when developing ideas for the new year?

Three Things PR Pros Should Do To Get The Most Out of Social Media

By: Kristina Markos and Maria Baez

Video Companion of this Article: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhAvcgt7yOo

It’s no secret that public relations and social media are synonymous in today’s viral landscape.   Consequently, clients are expecting that a lively social media presence will play a role in public relations initiatives alongside media relations, digital strategy, and event marketing.  Because of this, it is our job to make sure that our clients’ brands are known, respected, and connected to beneficial and influential conversations taking place on the web and on social media.

However, social media is a tool that we can use internally as well as for the benefit of clients— social media actually helps us to be creative, communicative and effective PR mavens. When properly executing social media campaigns for both consumer and professional services clientele, we post relevant content, interact with influencers and connect with others using hash-tags. When properly executing social media campaigns for ourselves and for our company brand, our goals remain the same.

Seasoned PR professionals who are constantly connected should know the three ways to most advantageously use social media:

  1. Breaking News Can Cramp Your Style, but Don’t Let It:  The news is unpredictable, so it can be challenging to plan a full social media strategy when the news is changing every day.  But where there is an element of surprise, there is an opportunity.  For example, when major media outlets and publications were covering the government shutdown, Ebben Zall Group took to our company blog  to discuss the situation. We found a way to incorporate our business objectives into what was going on nationally so that we stayed in the conversation.  Bottom line: the art of maintaining relevancy is easy if content stays timely.
  2. Monitoring Headlines Means Monitoring Handles:  Every morning, we monitor headlines from national and local news sources to stay current with trending topics and expert insights.   To go the extra mile, we find reporters on Twitter and follow their respective feeds. When we communicate directly with these reporters, RT their status updates or stories, it demonstrates goodwill and usually opens the door for further communication. We have found that kind of communication can lead to relationships with journalists who are vital to a PR campaign’s success. We also make an effort to keep a close eye on hash-tags that industry gurus are using to ensure that the most popular tags are included in our original tweets.
  3. Active Social Listening is Smart Listening:  Social listening is defined as simply monitoring popular social media outlets to see what is trending, gaining popularity, and sparking conversations on the internet. We actively listen to social conversations so that we can be smarter PR professionals.  When we know what is popular, we are able to craft our content in a way that it is positioned as a conversation starter. Being an active listener also means tracking social media updates from our clients’ competitors. When we monitor competitors, we are better equipped to help our clients stand out from the crowd by starting new conversations and sparking lively interaction.

Social media is a tool that provides a transparent environment for us to monitor what brands are communicating; what reporters are talking about; and which trends are emerging. PR professionals are known for quick thinking and capitalizing on timely opportunities. This is the essence of social media: it is about engagement through audience-centric content and conversations, and it underscores the need for us to stay nimble and fluid.

Without social media, campaigns would not have the digital amplification that they do in today’s communication landscape.  However, rampant conversations on social media can be perceived as loud and noisy; and good PR pros like us know that we have to filter the noise — so that you don’t have to.

Kristina Markos:  

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Account Supervisor at Ebben Zall Group, is making her mark in all facets of public relations, creative services and content creation. She has worked for digital design agencies in Chicago and Miami, which has given her a sharpened edge in digital strategy implementation.

Prior to joining EZG she launched and led Kayvee Publicity in Chicago (a public relations firm focused on fulfilling creative needs for financial services clients). She was also a writing and communications instructor at Indiana University Northwest.

Earning an award from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting, Kristina graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree in 2006. She also earned a Master of Liberal Science from the University of Toledo in 2010.

Maria Baez:

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Maria Baez is a PR Account Executive at Ebben Zall Group where she works with clients to develop and execute engaging campaigns that incorporate elements from traditional and social, and new media tactics. A graduate of Marist College (Go Red Foxes!), Maria earned a degree in Communications (2010) with a concentration in Public Relations. She was a four-year member of the Division I Marist Women’s Soccer Team and credits her ability to thrive in fast paced environments, deliver quality content with pressing deadlines, and effectively multitask, to her lifelong commitment to athletics. A Long Island native, Maria now resides outside of Boston. In her spare time, Maria is committed to utilizing her skills and experience in PR to help up-and-coming young professionals – who are interested in the industry – through various mentor and leadership programs.

PR Pros: Choosing Clients’ Causes Carefully

By: Toni L. Rousell                   Original Post can be found here

Your advice is not only valued, as a hired PR professional, wise counsel is required.

So, how do you help your clients choose the causes they support? Being driven by emotions or going with what’s popular, is sure to be a recipe for disaster.

Discouraging clients from seeking alliance with causes they really have no sincere desire to support, or no real understanding of, should be number one priority.  It can be hard to steer them in a more beneficial direction, avoiding self-destruction of their brand, but it’s responsible and necessary.  They’ll thank you later and you’ll sleep better at night.  Throwing support to a cause they don’t truly believe in, will only lead to their support waning, which will consequently reduce the value of their endorsements as they appear “flaky”, or even unstable, in the public-eye.

Local vs. National

It can seem convenient to offer support to the largest, most visible organization when it comes to “giving-back”, but could a local organization, requiring more hands on support, be more beneficial to your client’s long-term philanthropic goals and public image?  Analyzing the organization’s mission, do results support that mission?

Local organizations will allow for your client to see the lives their efforts effect. They will be able to look directly into the eyes of those benefiting from their donations and volunteering, and will also be more likely to give to those in their hometowns who directly affected their success, which makes for excellent public relations.  This encourages a more faithful, less “fair-weather”, connection.

Alternatively, national organizations offer the opportunity for clients to give-back to multiple communities at once.  If your client lives or their primary business is based outside of their hometown, this choice would allow them to give-back to their hometown community, as well as to the new community that has embraced them. There should be no lack of effort on the client’s part to make their presence known, even when the cameras are off or not around.  A national organization will also be more likely to have consistent PR representation, affording a better grasp on public support of the cause and offering more flexible events your client can join.

Making the Commitment 

Sometimes a client desires to support organizations with a focus that may require a little extra effort for educating the public or validating the connection. Is the client truly committed? This is where your client’s genuine beliefs will come into play. The work required will expose the true intent: is it pub or love?

One example of true commitment is that of Actress Ciera Payton. Being raised, until the age of 13, by her grandmother and drug addicted (now incarcerated) father, Ms. Payton wanted to align her brand with organizations that would allow her to connect with youth growing up in an environment similar to herself: children of incarcerated parents.

But how understood is this cause?

Most children of incarcerated parents are misunderstood and, in many cases, ignored.  Many can site statistics, and some can actually admit they’ve become a statistic, but Ms. Payton’s focus is clear: share the fact that she has overcome the statistics.

By welcoming audiences in, sharing some of her most painful moments growing up in a life-threatening environment, Ms. Payton reaches those who can relate, finding those in need. She credits the Arts for saving her life, and not only commits funding, but diligently focuses on giving-back to youth facing the same battles she’s faced by mentoring.  She has chosen a mix of both local and national organizations to support, allowing her to give back to her hometown of New Orleans as well as her new home of Los Angeles.

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PR and Publicity vs “Puff and Fluff”

While announcing the partnership, be honest with the public.  Don’t puff up your client to be more than what they are or try to fluff up their support to be more than what it is.  Instead, once the choice has been made, be sure to connect with those who genuinely share in the cause.  Reach out to those who are long-term supporters, whether celebrity or not. This will not only increase the support base for the cause, but will also strengthen your client’s alliance.  Joining forces and sharing ideas for creative support, increases public awareness and makes the difference between superficial “puff and fluff” and careful PR and publicity.

Remember, it’s the man who has more that gives more and philanthropic efforts are what keeps many in need going and feeling encouraged.  Giving back for the cameras is bound to be exposed and never worth the backlash.

Rachael Sacks: Why PR Pros Are Different Than Publicists

By Shawn Paul Wood This post can be found here

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Forgive the headline. This nitwit does not espouse the definition of why PR pros are different than publicists. Rather, she is the proof in the proverbial pudding splattered all over her dress.

I have often aforethought a contentious opinion on the said difference between PR pros and publicists.

Full disclosure, I — as well as almost 90 percent of the media — loathe publicists. And if you check my LinkedIn profile, I’ve been one to some major domos out there, so I can share this. Why the vitriol in the industry? The aforementioned example. They make PR professionals look bad. I have a theory, so kids, hold your ears. The difference between a PR pro and publicist is like a pimp and his ho. One works for it, strategizes the right area for it, and knows how to bring in ROI for it. The other…well, just shows up. Enough said?

That said, thanks to the New York Post, meet Rachael Sacks.

Here’s how self-avowed wealthy college brat Rachael Sacks responded Saturday after her online essay, “I’m Not Going to Pretend That I’m Poor to be Accepted by You,” earned her Page One notoriety in the best paper in town.
“I don’t even have a publicist yet,” exclaimed Sacks, whose doctor dad back home in Maryland is footing all her bills as she pursues a writing degree at the New School.
“Maybe I’ll get a publicist, I don’t know,” she mused holding up The Post and smiling as she flipped the bird to haters. “People are suggesting that to me.”

So, sans an introduction to celebrity fandom via the night-vision tape (Kim Kardashian, we see you), this pre-pubescent dolt thinks he answer to fame is having someone schlep around to get her on TV and radio.

And that’s what is wrong with PR — the publicist.

Any dolt with Mommy and Daddy money thinks being a publicist means you have arrived. No, a publicist means they haven’t arrived. You think what they do is work? They represent someone famous, and after fetching said starlet’s dry cleaning and sex toys, they call a local radio station and say, “Hey, I have this chick. Wanna talk to her?”

Of course the answer is a clamoring, “YES” and a PR-ish career is born. The minute PR professionals can stop confusing publicists actions to what we do, the better off we will be as an industry. And publicists, if you want to join the real world, call us.

Then again who could blame you? You get drive cars that aren’t yours. Fetch clothes you can’t afford. Shill for people who don’t deserve fame in hope you get a cameo on some dumbass ‘Bravo’ show.

Maybe being a publicist is the way to go after all. Hey, Rachael? Call me.

HOW TO WRITE SO EDITORS DON’T HATE YOU

 

This post can be found here

As a writer, it pains me to say that I don’t always know exactly what people will gravitate to and read, instead, I try and identify the type of story a publication would choose to print, or not. While editing yesterday evening,  my frustration became so intense that I recalled  a post from Women in PR, “PR Pro habits Journalists Despise”,  which prompted me to write this piece. The WIPR post stems from Katie Burke’s “S%*t PR People Do That Journalists Hate”.

Now, I’m no Katie Burke, but as a young editor, I feel compelled to express the s%*t writers do that makes me hate them.

1. Write with purpose.
There is nothing worse than being handed an article with all the meat but no veggies or complex carbs. We’re hungry for compelling material, so make a healthy balanced meal out of it. Create a general outline of your story, then decide on its purpose.  If you are having a hard time populating your outline, that could be an indication to either, choose a new angle or trash the story.

2. Ditch the question marks.
Only ask a question when it is a legitimate one.
How would that make you feel? Could this path be for you? You as a writer should write to make me feel, however that I should or convince me that path is my destiny. Stop the “what if?” madness and give us all something to chew on.

3. It’s all about me.
If you are writing a narrative, by all means, recount your journey and experiences, but if your article is supposed to be about herbalism or the history of pancakes—which is quite interesting if I may add—don’t make it about you. It seems it takes an eternity to turn those egomaniacal comments into quotes or supporting facts. I don’t know about you, but who wants to take an eternity on anything.

4. Going comma crazy.
Gone are the days of commas and semi-colons. When appropriate,  connect long thoughts, with a long dash. The article will appear more neat overall.

5. Pay attention.
Review the general writing style of the publication you are submitting to. If the articles don’t contain bullet point lists, first person narrative or funky fonts,  don’t bother sending your story over in poor shape. Great writers have the supreme ability to adapt, don’t be afraid to show off.

6. The guessing game.
Don’t write as if you were talking. Your ideas should be communicated clear and concise, so they won’t be misinterpreted. Also, avoid the use of seemingly common phrases—no one wants to Google every quirky thing you have to say, to determine if it’s tasteful.

7. Act like a writer, think like an editor.
Friendly and accessible writers, that are understanding and genuinely open to improve, get first priority in my book. These writers win you over with their persistence, charisma and of course, precise writing style. Before you have the chance to ask, they already have the answer—be it a quote, supporting graphic or the occasional reminder that any piece they submit comes with a “no piss off” guarantee.

Writers and editors, what are some other things that drive you crazy? How can we fix them?

7 underrated skills every PR newbie needs

By Jessica Malnik| This post can be found here

 

In an ideal world, nascent PR pros and neophyte journalists should know how to do a variety of things before they walk across the stage and get their diplomas.

 

There’s no need to be an expert in everything, but it helps to have some familiarity with a variety of tasks and programs. As someone who’s been in the workforce for a few years now, I offer seven underrated skills that all aspiring PR pros and journalists should have:

1. Basic HTML knowledge

By this, I mean basic. There’s no need for PR pros to know how to code websites, although it could be helpful. There is a need to know to how to post a blog post using WordPress, Blogger, or Posterous. Knowing simple HTML commands for headlines, body copy, bold, italic, and bullet points is HTML 101.

 

2. Video editing

This can be daunting to learn. I’m not saying everyone should be fluent in Final Cut Pro or Avid, but there is no reason that a marketer or PR pro should not have some familiarity with iMovie, Animoto, or Jaycut. These are simple programs that enable you to upload and edit videos, often in minutes.

3. Excel

Creating simple spreadsheets and tasks in Excel can be difficult for newbies. Though it may be a tough program to learn, there’s no excuse to do so. You will use it more than you think.

4. Proper grammar

Writing well is a staple of just about any career. Good grammar and spelling are at its root. Channel the advice of your middle school English teacher whenever you construct a sentence, paragraph, white paper, presentation, or blog post. Good grammar matters.

5. Basic math

Whether you’re analyzing statistics, comparing percentages, or helping prepare a budget, simple math skills come in handy more often than you might think.

6. SEO

Understanding how SEO affects your site’s search rankings is important. At the very least, you should know to craft an SEO-friendly headline and keywords for site content. Any added knowledge is gravy. For additional SEO resources, check out SEOMoz blog, a phenomenal resource.

7. Social media familiarity

It’s mind blowing how many marketers and PR pros handle “social media tasks” professionally when they have no or little experience using those platforms. You don’t have to be super active on Facebook, Twitter, G+, etc., but you should at least be on the sites and know how to use them.

 

What other skills should marketers and PR pros have? Please leave them in the comments section below.

Jessica Malnik is a PR/marketing coordinator, social media specialist, videographer, and an avid Gen Y blogger. A version of this article originally appeared on her blog.

What Do You Do When Your Venue Closes Days Before Your Event?

When the Children’s Book Choice Awards planners arrived for load in, they discovered a lock on the venue’s doors and had to act quickly to save the event.

By Beth Kormanik | This Post can be found here

<p>  The Children's Book Choice Awards switched venues at the last minute, but it brought along its bookshelf lectern.</p>

The venue for the Children’s Choice Book Awards changes each year, and planner Lizz Torgovnick of Sequence Events and her clients at the Children’s Book Council had carefully scouted locations before choosing the Liberty Theater for this year’s event in May. The historic facility—with its unique layout and original theater boxes—had even inspired the event’s red curtain theme.

When the load-in crew members arrived on Friday to prep for the Monday event, they found an event planner’s nightmare: a padlock on the door and a post detailing liquor and other violations. The team faced a quick decision: Hope the legal issues would be resolved by Monday, or change venues.

“The first hour was spent asking, ‘What the heck is going on?’ Was it still possible to have the event there,” Torgovnick said. “We couldn’t get our venue contact on the phone, so it became clear very quickly that we needed to find a new venue for our event. After a few semi-frantic calls to team Sequence, everyone was on the case. We called every venue we’ve ever worked with that could accommodate this event.”

They needed an open venue that had space for a cocktail reception, award presentation, and dessert reception for 300 people—without increasing the budget. Finding an open venue in a matter of hours, even in a city like New York with its numerous options, is no easy task. The first round of phone calls yielded no results. Liberty Theater’s audiovisual contact suggested a not-yet-open space called Stage 48, fewer than 10 blocks from the original venue. It was still finalizing details of its build out, but it was available, and the team scheduled a walk-through.

“Luckily, it was a pretty good fit,” Torgovnick said. “It was 80 percent of what we needed from a venue, and the rest was doable. It was kind of a miracle.”

With the client’s approval, they made the switch. But the crew still faced several hurdles: ordering a new menu without a tasting, creating a new floor plan and new seat assignments, and alerting guests to the change in location. Then there was the stage itself. Intended more for live music events, it did not have stairs for winners to climb to receive their awards.

So planners asked the chef to recreate as best he could the original menu and cobbled together a staircase from materials the venue had on hand. The Children’s Book Council emailed event guests about the new location, and the night of the event, a hired staffer stood outside of the old venue in case anyone missed the message.

Another challenge was the elevator. It was not operational, so guests had to climb to reach the third-floor reception site. To accommodate guests who couldn’t make the hike, staffers kept the bar open on the main level and brought in hors d’oeuvres.

Despite the change, the event largely stayed on budget. Stage 48 matched the original venue price, and there was no haggling with the Liberty Theater since it had not cashed the deposit check. The only loss was for a satellite truck that planners had hired for a live online broadcast of the show. Its signal, which had been tested at the former venue, did not work from the new one.

The Liberty Theater’s William Curran told BizBash that the violations were from the theater’s in-house restaurant at the time, Famous Dave’s, which was operated separately. Curran said the management took care of the violations in court that Friday and reopened in time for dinner service. (He added that Famous Dave’s had been replaced by the Liberty Diner under new management.)

“We could have done the event here, but they felt more comfortable moving,” Curran said. “In my 30 years I’ve never had something like that. I understood that the event planner was very upset to say the least, and that’s why I did everything I could to help them.”

Torgovnick said she was disappointed that her client never received an apology from the Liberty Theater, but the experience had taught her valuable lessons.

“Be prepared,” she said. “Be on top of all of the details. If you have all of the puzzle pieces, if you have to reassemble them in a different place, it’s possible. Expecting the unexpected is part of our job, and in a sick way is what we love about the industry. The biggest problem that anyone could face came our way, and we still had a fantastic event.”

 

Building the perfect email ‘pitchwich’

By: By Ashley Halberstad This Post Can Originally be found here
Like anything worth knowing, PR is all about the fundamentals. There are building blocks, key pieces of knowledge that make the difference between being a PR practitioner and being a PR professional.

One of those fundamentals is the pitch. We hear a lot about bad pitches, especially via sites like Bad Pitch Blog and Pro PR Tips that were inspired by the sheer volume of off-topic pitches received. But, what about the relevant, timely pitch topics that still go unanswered?

After you’ve accurately identified what you’re pitching and to whom, you still run the risk of sending a bad pitch. Truth is, the structure and approach of the pitch itself are often overlooked, and they can make or break your chances of a response from a media representative—regardless of how well targeted and relevant your message is.

Enter the “pitchwich.” Like a delicious and satisfying sandwich, the pitchwich feeds the media you’re reaching out to by providing them with the information they need in a clear concise way. Check out the ingredients:

Bread slice

Say hello, but keep it short and get straight to the point. Greet the recipient of your email in a friendly—but not overly personal—way, and let them know right away why you’re sharing this information. Often this can be either a “problem statement” or a reference to a recent article by the person you’re emailing. Here’s an example bread slice: 

Hi, Ashley—

Hope your week is going well! I saw your recent article on cats, and I completely agree with your thoughts on shedding. 

Mayo (or condiment of choice)

This is where you should mention how you or your client would tie in to the introduction. Are you the solution to the problem introduced? Does your client have a connection to a recent article? Check out the use of mayo:

Are you familiar with the ShedBed (www.FakeShedBed.com)? It’s a new way to keep pets from shedding all over the house by containing it in one spot—the pet bed.

Meat (or veggies)

After you’ve connected the dots, provide relevant details that the person must know about you or your client. Keep it brief, but include key details such as what specifically separates you from the competition. Link to images and product pages if more information can be found on the site, rather than spelling it all out in a lengthy email. Meat/veg in action:

ShedBed is a pet bed with a purpose. Using a new proprietary technology to gently massage and groom cats and dogs while they lie on the bed. Unlike manual brushing, all the stray fur is collected and contained by the ShedBed so you can easily throw it away. You can see it in action here: http://www.FakeShedBed.com/videodemo.

Bread slice

The pitchwich should never be an open-face sandwich. Conclude your message with a clear call to action. What do you want the media person to do with this information? Offer an interview, product sample, additional information, or images, but be sure you’re asking them to take action. The capper to the perfect pitchwich:

I think this would be a great solution for Mr. Boots’ shedding issue. Are you interested in learning more or in receiving a review unit to try for yourself?

I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks!

[RELATED: Register for our PR Writers Summit by Aug. 1 to get an early-bird discount.]

The pitchwich is only a guide. Everyone is different, and it’s important to be familiar with who you’re pitching, personalizing your messages to him or her as much as you possibly can. PR is about building relationships, and the way you communicate with media will change as you develop those relationships.

In the meantime, the pitchwich can help keep your messaging simple and effective.

Ashley Halberstadt is the director of digital media relations for digitalrelevance, an online marketing agency in Indianapolis. A version of this story originally appeared on the agency’s blog