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How to successfully pitch a reporter to get interviewed and obtain media coverage

How to Successfully Pitch a Reporter to Get Interviewed and Obtain Media Coverage

When I was up against a book deadline and needed a couple of people to interview who had achieved business results from podcasting, I put out a call through a service called Help a Reporter Out (www.helpareporter.com). This free service functions very much like paid reporter lead services such as Profnet or Travel Publicity Leads. Generally media people put out such calls either when they need interview leads extremely soon (like a deadline in two days) or when they have rather unusual interview needs that can’t be satisfied through the usual channels (such as looking for someone who has diabetes, owns pets and is gay or lesbian).

Someday you may be in a position to pitch a reporter, so I’d like to help you understand what to do and what not to do in this situation, and why, so you can seize the opportunity to meet the reporter’s needs and receive valuable media coverage. Here is the meat of the request I made:

“Need phone interviews by end of the week with 3 podcasters who can cite specific, tangible business results achieved through podcasting. Tell me briefly the topic of your podcast, your URL, your results and your phone number. Thanks.”

I received 30 replies. Of these, five stood out as excitingly fulfilling my criteria. At least half of the rest put themselves completely out of the running by ignoring my stated requirements, while several others were wasting their time and mine in their reply for other reasons.

I’m not sure how I could have been more clear and explicit about what information I wanted from respondents in order to screen them. I said I wanted potential interviewees to tell me the “specific, tangible business results achieved through podcasting.” Anyone who did not say exactly how they’d gotten new opportunities or earned money from their podcast got eliminated. Perhaps they had a great story to tell, but they hadn’t pre-qualified themselves with me to tell it. Instead they said, in effect, “I’m the one you want. Call me.” One wrote, “We are number 1 in the world, business results are amazing. I am so busy I would rather speak on the phone.” As far as I’m concerned, that’s hot air and does not show willingness to help me with my story.

This may sound “Mickey Mouse,” but whatever details are in the reporter’s request are there for a reason, and it doesn’t work to ignore them. I saw much the same thing happen when I judged a couple of business contests. The application form asked several questions that numerous otherwise appealing candidates left blank. These people were disqualified. The time and in some cases money they’d spent entering the contest was for naught.

Besides those who neglected to specify their podcasting results, a few people wasted their time by sending me contact information for someone who they said met my criteria, such as their boss, their client or someone they knew of from afar. For someone on a tight deadline who receives sufficient responses directly from interviewees, this doesn’t work, either. From the underling or PR representative’s suggestion, I have no way of knowing whether or not their referral is actually available to talk during my time frame. If you know of someone who fits a reporter’s request, always forward it to that person and urge them to respond right away instead of replying on their behalf.

Another bunch of people wasted their time writing to me because they did not have a podcast of their own but rather provided podcasting services for a fee. I’d said, “Tell me briefly the topic of your podcast,” and they’d violated that portion of my request.

One of the top five respondents whom I emailed back right away to set up a time to talk by phone took more than 24 hours to reply. “Sorry, your email landed in my spam folder,” he said. “Here’s when I’m available today.” Unfortunately, by then I’d already completed the interviews I needed. Unfortunately too for another respondent who met all of my criteria: He initiated contact after I’d finished all the interviews.

My advice on getting publicity by replying to reporters’ requests boils down to this: Reply promptly. Explicitly address the stated criteria in your reply. Volunteer only yourself. Check for the reporter’s email or phone call so you can follow through on having caught his or her interest.

Paradoxically, by treating the media person as a prince or princess, you position yourself to become a star.

Impact of newspaper advertising

Impact of newspaper advertising

Newspaper advertising works on the fundamental of building trust and confidence with the readers. According to Webwindows, a leading media agency in the UK, your choice of the newspaper, and the content and design of the advertisement should be such that it wins over the trust of the reader at the first go. Webwindows supports it case by stating that recent studies all point to the fact that a well drafted classified advertisement placed in the right newspaper opens up the doors to success. According to Webwindows, newspapers over a period have built a strong level of trust and confidence in the people which is unmatched by any other form of media. Webwindows further states that while online media has its use, for advertising newspaper is the best medium. Webwindows feels that online media can be used for making purchases simply because it gives the customers the opportunity to shop at any time of the day or night from the comforts of their homes. To advertise, Webwindows recommends people should use the offline media.

According to Webwindows people read newspapers for relaxation and when they do that, they love to browse through advertisements and if for nothing else but for the sake of curiosity. So even if they don’t want to buy a product at a particular point of time, Webwindows says that they encircle the ad or keep it for future reference. This according to Webwindows is the power of newspaper advertising. It is precisely because of this Webwindows is dedicated to serve online companies and provide them result-oriented and cost effective advertisement strategies. UK’s leading media agency, Webwindows, offers specialized services in ad design and placement strategies. Webwindows has a signature page, the Webwindows page that appears as a colored weekend supplement in seven newspapers and magazines of UK which helps online companies reach to a large readership base of 5 million readers.

Webwindows feels that newspapers provide you just the right platform to advertise your products and services and make a strong presence among the readers. Newspapers have a large readership and it is the preferred medium of acquainting oneself with information. Therefore Webwindows feels that newspapers have a great power to build brand awareness. Newspapers, according to Webwindows, can help you introduce your company in a positive light by making a prompt impact and a long lasting effect.

According to Webwindows, newspapers have the greatest impact because of the following reasons:

  1. Experts say the greater the exposure of the advertisement, the longer is the period of its impact among the readers. Therefore Webwindows feels if an advertisement stays in the memory of a consumer for a longer time, chances are quite probable that he might opt for purchasing or availing your services as and when required. This counts for higher sales and brand awareness.
  2. A newspaper reader is so involved in his reading that sometimes the content in the advertisements creates an emotional impact on him. It is this power of being able to evoke an emotional response with the reader that goes in favour of newspaper advertising.
  3. In other media, especially online media, people get perturbed by the distractions in the form of pop-ups and other advertisement forms that keep flashing on and off the screen. In fact Webwindows points out that instead of having any favourable impact, these ads serve to distract the readers. However newspapers, point out Webwindows, involves a focused reading where there are no disturbing and unwanted flashes of advertisements. As there is no distance between the reader and the story it seems that the reader actually undergoes all the emotions in the story himself, leading to increase in the trust factor. Taking advantage of this trust quotient, advertisers cash on newspapers to send their messages loud and clear among the readers.

It has been proved time and again that that the level of trust and confidence associated with the newspapers are much more than any other media. Basing their strategies on the same principal, Webwindows provide integrated and the most effective ad composition and placement strategies that assists businesses to develop a positive relationship with the readers. In fact Webwindows has a dedicated page, the Webwindows page that appears in seven leading newspapers in the UK. The advantage of advertising in the Webwindows page is that your ad is read by over five million people per week and these are the people who are looking to buy products and services online. The Webwindows page is extremely popular with the readers who now know that this is the best place to look for online companies offering products and services they are looking for. As already pointed out, the Webwindows page appears in seven leading newspapers. The Webwindows executives can guide you as to which newspaper would best meet your requirements.

How to stay in business during a recession

How to Stay in Business During a Recession

Recession. If you read the papers or watch television, it’s everywhere. Bailouts and large scale layoffs have either happened already or are looming on the horizon. As a small business owner, you are probably wondering if there is a way to survive this downturn. Although there are some serious things we have to deal with in the economy, there are things that can be done to keep your business up and running.

Cut utilities

Straight up, something that every business can do is to reduce their energy usage. Be conscious of your energy output. Reduce your energy usage by turning off lights, changing to energy efficient light bulbs, buying energy efficient business machines, and installing good insulating window treatments to reduce overnight heating costs. It can really contribute to the bottom line of not just your business but the environment.

Do what worked when you first started

Once business people start to become successful, it’s not uncommon to stray from what made them successful in the first place. During a recession, it can be easy to get caught up in the panic of doom and gloom. However, if you remember what worked to create revenue when you first started then that can make a huge difference. I remember hearing a story about a Boston business man that had a huge company that generated a lot of income with a lot of employees. He was the president. However, every morning for two hours he would make cold calls to new customers just like the rookies he hired. Why? Because it worked! That’s how he generated revenue when he was small and he HAD to get on the phone every day.

Make the Internet your friend

I know it’s convenient to be able to hire somebody to do all your technology for you, but it’s also a big expense. Learning how to use the Internet to boost up your business during a recession can likely save you some money! I know there are tons of you out there that have a fear of technology. I was no different than you. It can seem like a huge hurdle to simply navigate a website. But there is no need to fear this. You don’t have to be a technology wizard to get benefit from the Internet. There are reputable sites like Linked In that can increase your business connections. Yahoo! Groups has a variety of different groups that can possibly connect your business to new clients. The benefit of these sites is two fold: it will increase your exposure as a business and it’s FREE! Not to mention that you will increase your knowledge of technology by getting on these sites.

These are only three of many things that you can do to make your business get more exposure and survive through the down times in an economy. If you think about being careful with your energy expenditures, sticking to the basics of what worked when you first started your business and getting hooked up with online communities, you may increase your chances of staying afloat through a recession.

Keynotes for a promising online selling

Keynotes for a Promising Online Selling

Technology these days is so fast-paced and thanks to man’s limitless innovation they were able to revolutionize communication through the form of blogs. A blog or “web log” is typically a website that has various contents depending on the person who primarily designed it. It could be about current affairs, events, history, and or any personal information about the blogger himself or herself. One can immediately inform the world of anything which may be happening at a certain time period by just simply updating it. Furthermore, the blogger can add more flavors unto the blog content by giving their personal take on it. If you are interested in current affairs and or fond of writing or making compositions then designing a news blog is definitely the best hobby for you. But then again, merely posting anything which comes to mind is not always advisable and a number of factors should be carefully taken into account before you even start your own. Creating a blog without sufficient preparation can potentially cause it to become stagnant and lose its value.

An important thing to remember when designing a news blog is that its content should be informative and up to current. The information’s sources should also be reliable because this will reflect on your credibility. And the success of your news blogging is highly dependent on your credibility. In addition to this, the sources of your information should stand out and have their own unique take on any issue. Setting your blog up to recieve any RSS feeds from them is a great way to keep you informed of updates which you could post on your blog. Consistently providing reliable information will eventually get you positive feedbacks and even referrals which you could profit from. Of course, gathering information is another story and could be difficult at first, especially if you do not know where to start. And the best way to have a good head start is to subscribe to other blogs as well which has similar information or content, and are up to date and also has lots of positive feedbacks. Simply utilizing the internet search engine is a great help and can reduce the time you spend looking for credible information. Getting recommendation from friends and or relatives can also be good sources of information. Looking up news websites like Digg, Reddit, and Mixx and other similar sites can also provide information you are looking for, the same with online journals, newspapers, magazines and media contacts.

Accessing these resources will give you an idea of what is currently in and out of the current global trend, which can affect your effectiveness when it comes to news blogging. To sum it all up, news blogging is a rewarding experience and you can learn a lot from it and it can potentially establish a healthy relationship with people across the globe, thanks to your up to date news and information.

Length of your business plan

Length of Your Business Plan

How long should a business plan be A business plan needs to be whatever length is required to excite the investor, prove that management truly understands the market, and detail the execution strategy. From surveys of investor needs, Growthink has found that 15 to 25 pages of text is the optimum length in which to accomplish this. Anymore and the time constrained investor will be forced to skim certain sections of the plan, even if they are generally interested, which could lead them to miss essential elements. Any less and the investor will think that the business has not been fully thought through, or will simply not have enough information to make an investment decision.

Many management teams feel that their company is too complex to describe in 15 to 25 pages. While this is sometimes true, the business plan is not meant to tell the whole story. Rather, the company must be boiled down into its essential elements. If the investor is interested, there will be plenty of additional time to tell the whole story.

Business plans, like other marketing communications documents, should be visually appealing and easy to read. This can be accomplished by using charts and graphics and by formatting the plan for readability. Effectively using these techniques will enable the investor to more quickly and easily understand the company s value proposition within fewer pages.

While the body of the business plan should be 15 to 25 pages, the Appendix can be used for supplemental information. The Appendix should include a full set of financial projections, and as appropriate, technical and or operational drawings, partnership and/or customer agreements, expanded competitor reviews, and lists of key customers among others.

If the Appendix is long, a divider should be used to separate it from the body of the plan, or a separate Appendix document should be prepared. These techniques ensure that the investor is not handed a thick business plan, which will make them queasy before even opening it up.

To summarize, the goal of the business plan is to create interest   not to have an investor write you a check. In creating interest, the full story of your company need not be told. Rather, the plan should include the essential elements regarding why an investor should invest and spend more time examining the business opportunity. The shorter length does not mean that your business plan should take less time to prepare. Rather, it will take more time. As Mark Twain once said, If I had more time, I would write a shorter story. Likewise, condensing your business plan to a concise, compelling document is challenging and time consuming. Fortunately the rewards are significant.

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