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Wednesday
Jul202016

5 Quick Tips for Pitching Reporters

Getting press for your product or service lends credibility and gets you in front of a larger audience. Use these 5 quick tips to pitch reporters and get more hits.

  1. Google: Find reporters that write about topics that relate to what you do, (or what your product or service does.) Don’t waste time sending your pitch out randomly.  Be sure to pitch the reporter however he or she wants to be pitched. If they say: “Please, no pitches via Twitter,” respect that.
  2. Brevity Wins: The biggest complaint I hear from reporters is that the pitches they receive are far too long. Think paragraphs, not pages. Stand out. Strive to get as close to a 100-word pitch as possible. If they want more info, they’ll ask you for it.  This is especially true if you are pitching in person or over the phone. Another pet peeve is when the reporter can’t understand what the person is pitching. Clarity and brevity win.   
  3. Know THEIR audience: The reporter is writing articles that will appeal to his or her audience. You must be relevant to those readers. A good question to ask yourself is: “Why would this reporter need to share my story with his/her readers right now? Is it timely? Is it urgent?
  4. Tailor your pitch, show them how YOU fit: Reporters can spot a generic pitch a mile away and they think it’s lazy. (It is.) Give them some story angles. Show them how what you do benefits their audience. What are you helping their audience do better? What problem are helping them solve? What mission critical error will you help them avoid?  
  5. Pitch until it sticks: Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a lot of responses. Keep refining. Pitch until you find the right reporter and it sticks. Become a valuable resource to them. Think long term. Let them know about other people/products/services that they might want to write about in the future.
BONUS: Sharing is caring:

Be sure to alert your audience as soon as an article goes live. It’s only fair that you share the writer’s work with your audience as well, since that’s exactly what he or she has done for you. 

Tuesday
Jul122016

Learning to Fly 

 

“I am afraid.” I look my trainer straight in the eye and tell him this. There is no REAL reason to be afraid. I’ve watched many people come out of the flight chamber and they are all smiling and giving each other high fives. They look like they had a blast. I am working with one of the sales guys at iFly and I’ve asked him all sorts of questions about the experience. I trust what he’s told me. I don’t think I’m going to get hurt. I think it’s going to be fun. But, for whatever irrational reason, I am still afraid.

My trainer has logged 5,000 hours in the chamber. He stops, looks directly at me, raises the eye shield on my helmet and says: “I’m going to be RIGHT THERE WITH YOU.”

Okay, we’re in this together. I can do this. I step into the chamber.

First rule I learn in the chamber. “The more I struggle, the less control I have.” My instructor is Zen and trying to get me to chill out a bit. (Notice his arm around my leg in the photo, trying to get me in the correct position to fly.)

I start to relax a bit. I am FLOATING. I’m sort of almost flying! This is really cool! I leave feeling triumphant. I conquered a fear today.  We’ll definitely be back. 

My husband and I have a late lunch at a place called Harvest on Hudson, before we head back to the city. We’re in between lunch and dinner, so the place is nearly empty inside. We eat fancy salad and Garlicy pizza at the bar and then take a walk outside, where you can see lots of geese and the city FAR away in the distance. Neither of us has ever been to Croton-on-Hudson, even though it is so close to NYC. Another first. It’s a good day to be an entrepreneur. Learning to fly. 

 

 

 

Monday
Jul042016

Pitching in Central Park (The best mojito I ever had.)

You should take today off. No, really. Life is short. Take today off.

My husband and I took a picnic to Central Park yesterday and I marveled at all of the people who hustle in the park to sell: water, Gatorade, Heineken, Corona, or Corona Light. Each vendor has his or her own pitch and his or her own way of transporting their product for sale. Some have regular coolers that you’d see at the beach, some have Red Radio Flyer wagons, and one guy has a milk crate filled with his inventory, which he drags across the lawn.

The guy selling the Coronas noticed the 3 guys next to us were hanging out playing cards and speaking Spanish, so he goes over, asks who’s winning the game and delivers his pitch perfectly in Spanish. Know your audience. They appreciated his tailored approach and each bought a beer. I notice that these guys are now wrapping the beers in newspaper when they give them to the customer. I guess that’s a new take on the tiny brown paper bags that they’d put the beer in, when you bought one at the deli.

Then, we hear loudly, “Freshly made MOJITOS. Mojitos FROM SCRATCH.” This is the best pitch of the day, perhaps because it is so unlikely to succeed. How do you make a mojito from scratch on the Great Lawn?  Like THIS:

He sits, he uses hand-sanitizer first, which I’m usually not a fan of, but in this case, genius. He has fresh mint, fresh limes already cut, one gallon of mojito mix and a jug of Bacardi, housed in two large duffle bags. He’s got his silver cocktail shaker ready.

He starts to prepare my drink, stops and looks down. “I lost my wife on Friday,” he says. I tell him how sorry I am to hear that. He continues, “I guess God needs her more than I…..” his voice trails off.  He looks up, “I’m sorry; I got distracted for a second, let me get this drink back on track. Young lady, please sample this drink, does it need a little more mint?  Let me put some more Bacardi in there.” I tell him, “This mojito is perfect, as is.”

“Oh, just one more thing,” he takes out a tiny pink umbrella and places it gently in my drink.

We walk home from the park in silence. I wonder how many more picnics we will have. Tomorrow is promised to no one. Take today off.  

 

Monday
Jun272016

The 20% Rosewater Pitch 

 

I met my friend and long-time mentor at Stella last week. Stella is an interesting place, because it is a restaurant that is located inside of Macy’s; on the 6th floor, with a magic elevator that stops only there. I had never heard of this place before and it will be a good, convenient place to meet clients, (35th Street and Broadway) so I thank Adrian for suggesting it.

The place is bright and proper and there are only a few empty tables.

I am enjoying my special summer squash pizza, (not as bad as it sounds) as a very loud young woman comes and stands near me at the bar. She is waiting to meet a friend who works at the restaurant. “How are you? How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun?” she asks him, rapid fire. The friend answers quietly.  I am distracted for a moment by the jumbo television which is showing a program on the food network. (It strikes me as odd that they are showing a cooking show in a restaurant, but who knows, maybe that actually makes sense.)

A young man, who has joined the woman and her friend says abruptly, “So, I want to tell you about this special beer we have.” (I realize that this is a sales meeting, not a friend meeting, so I listen more closely.) “This beer is made with 20% rosewater!” he says with a smile.  I hope beyond reason that I have mis-heard this. The only place I want rosewater is in my hand lotion; NOT in my beer.

The woman is now quiet and her friend, (whom I am now assuming is actually the restaurant manager) is SILENT. “It’s made with 20% rosewater,” he emphases. Silence.

Defeated, the sales guy says: “Well, I’m going to tell you about the pricing anyway.”

 

 

Here’s my question. If I show NO INTEREST in your product what-so-ever, does it matter how much, (or how little) it costs?

I’ve heard my share of bad pitches in my life, but this one was painful.

What do you think he could have done differently to turn this pitch around? 

P.S. Here's a photo of the summer squash pizza

 

Monday
Jun202016

Living the Dream—of NOT having a REAL job. 

It is 1:30 pm on a Monday and The Smith is absolutely mobbed. It’s the first official day of summer and everyone is in a grand mood.

Business has been great lately, (knock wood) so I treat myself to a much needed lunch break at a fancy restaurant.

I stop to think. How lucky am I to be able to stop and actually sit and enjoy lunch? How many people are stuck in dead-end, soul sucking jobs; where eating a granola bar on the subway during rush hour constitutes breakfast and pounding down bad take-out from the local deli, while staring blankly at a computer screen, is lunch.

Did you know that “ the average person changes jobs ten to fifteen times (with an average of 12 job changes) during his or her career?” according to: About Careers. That’s really bad news for those job seekers who are not comfortable marketing themselves and building up their network of contacts. That means a lot more granola bars and questionable “salad by the pound” over the course of your working life, for most people.

“Where do you want to be in FIVE years?” I always called that the Miss America question when an interviewer asked me. (As in, it’s as hard for most people to answer that question as it is for some of the beauty pageant contestants to answer their questions.)

If you’d asked me on 9/10/01 where I’d be in five years, the answer would have been a hell of a lot different than if you asked me on 9/12/01. No one could have imagined how ONE day could have changed everything. Let along five years.

The young women next to me have large format black and white composition notebooks and are scribbling away. I gather they work in musical theater, in some capacity, and are collaborating on a script. I guess this because they SING every other sentence. Normally, this would get tedious very quickly, but they are so EXCITED about what they are working on that I can’t help but toast them silently with my prosecco. Clink.

Lucky, to get to work on something they love.

The topic of conversation changes. One of the women is talking about how she got frustrated because she could not get the pancakes she likes while traveling. So frustrated, in fact, that she created a patented solution. Are you serious?! You like PANCAKES enough to make them while you travel? How is that even possible? This. I have to hear.

Now, they are arguing about who has the cutest haircut. I have a strong opinion, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing it.


One big downer. I remember this ketchup from the last time I came here. It was so bad that I had to look up the ingredients online to see what it was missing. (Spoiler alert: It was High Fructose Corn Syrup.)  You might argue that it is better for me to have no ketchup at all, than to have ketchup that is not Heinz; and you’d be right.

Travel PILLOW. Not travel PANCAKES. That does make a lot more sense, but is much less interesting. I’m sure there’s a niche out there for the pancake connoisseur, who could never find it in his (or her) heart to visit a Denny’s, while on the road. (For the record, I love Denny’s.) But that’s a story for another day.

Every person who walks past us looks over with a combination of disdain and longing. HOW do these people have time to chill out and eat lunch in the middle of the day?!

We’re lucky.  Except for the ketchup.