Advice from the Pros: Four Key Tips for Pitching Bloggers

I love networking events. As a PR pro, why wouldn’t I? : )

Last night I attended The Publicity Club of New England’sBlogger Relations for PR Pros” panel at Newton-Wellesley Hospital. It was a blast.

The panel was made up of a diverse group of individuals with varied backgrounds.   Some valuable advice was shared. Below are a few of my favorite nuggets from the night. Enjoy!

  • Only use embargoes as a Trojan to get coverage – then tell your client you’re brilliant” – Jason Keith, SMB blogger, Boston.com

 

Salem State University: Accomplished Alumni

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love my alma mater. Salem State University gave more to me than I can ever describe and for that reason, I try to give back every way possible.

From regularly consulting with formers professors on curriculum coursework to offering my time as a mentor to students and graduates alike – no contribution is too small.

Recently, I penned an article for SSU’s alumni magazine, The Salem Statement.  The 500-word feature focuses on higher education professional, Michael Vella – a shining example of a student turned professional who thrived by embracing SSU’s small classroom, student-focused approach.

Read on. Enjoy. Share your comments below.

Social Media and Pizza: A Case Study

I live and work in downtown Boston, MA. When it’s time for lunch, I have many options. Today, I wanted to try a new place. I wandered down Newbury Street and decided to check out Bostone Pizza.

Bostone Pizza claims that they are Boston’s “only authentic NY pizzeria, featuring thin crust Neapolitan and deep dish Sicilian pizza.”

I tend to like my pizza covered with the most outrageous toppings you can think of.  I also love it prepared in a variety of ways. For this reason, Bostone caught my attention. But when it’s my first time in a joint? I opt for a straight slice of cheese. That’s just how I roll.

Well, the slice did not disappoint. But you must remember that there are tons of lunchtime options around here. Newbury Street alone offers everything from Indian/Chinese fusion to Spanish tapas. How can a pizza parlor compete?

I think Bostone is going to be just fine.

While dining, I checked in on Foursquare. I also chose to share my location on Twitter. Within an hour, Bostone sought me out and recognized my patronage. Trust me; this sort of thing makes a difference. I think that many of Boston’s plugged-in professionals and undergraduates would agree.  

The next time I’m looking for lunch in downtown, I think I’ll try Bostone’s Mediterranean with extra feta.

How Not to Write a Press Release

Big news hit the world of heavy music today, as Carl Severson and Paul Conroy – founding owners of Ferret Music – announced the formation of  Good Fight Entertainment, a sports and music management company that will also act as a record label.

That is the long and short of it. I advise you to take my word for it too. The reason? Well, the press release for this announcement is borderline unreadable.

What went wrong? Well, a few things. Let’s take a look:

1. Not Making Each Word Count

At almost 1000 words, this release is too long. Did we really need a full paragraph explaining that this new company plans on having a website and a Facebook page?  Also, I understand the point of endorsements by opinion-makers, but a quote from hardcore legend Freddy Cricien discussing Madball’s career is completely off topic. It should not have been included in this release.

2. Jargon

Buzz words are sometimes necessary, but I think we have a case of overkill on our hands. Take a look at the following excerpt:

“Pioneers in the hardcore and metal scenes, and former partners at Ferret Music, Warner Music and ChannelZERO, Conroy and Severson have proven track records for innovative thinking and unwavering tenacity. Their abundance of experience has taught them how to spot cutting edge talent and propel them into the spotlight.”

Terms like “innovative,” “unwavering tenacity,” and “cutting edge,” reek of contrivance and continue to hide the facts that are really important. The term “cutting edge” is even used again in the very next paragraph.

Perhaps the biggest issue here is that the name of this endeavor is not made very clear. Most of the release refers to it as “Good Fight Music.” However, there are instances where it is referred to as “Good Fight Entertainment.” I have found pages on social networking sites referring to it as “Good Fight Records.”  Are these all the same thing? Can the names be used interchangeably? When your reader is confused, you are in trouble!

3. Unanswered Questions

Last but not least, there is an unfortunate lack of information here. This announcement is newsworthy because Conroy and Severson founded Ferret Music – one of the biggest labels in the history of the hardcore/metal music scene. So…what’s going on with Ferret right now? Has it ceased to exist? If not, who is running it? The label is home to a slew of bands not mentioned as artists who will be releasing music under the Good Fight Music name. Have their contracts been terminated? Even a nonfan has to wonder what has become of the label that launched these men’s careers.

I did not write this to attack Ferret, Good Fight Entertainment/Good Fight Music or anyone involved. After all, this is huge news. Two hardcore/metal pioneers are branching out in a new direction. Hardcore stalwarts like Madball and Disembodied have a new label to call home. In many ways, this is another step towards the legitimate recognition of heavy music.

Though the bottom line still stands; I was ready to stop reading this press release by the third paragraph and this is coming from a fan. I imagine a journalist’s attention span would expire much sooner.

Hipster Journalism: A Case Study

I’m up for reading snarky pop culture pieces as much as the next guy, but that doesn’t mean that some hipster journalist has the right to assassinate anyone’s character they choose.

The latest piece to burst out of the bohemian media gates comes from James Montgomery of MTV news. On the heels of Mark McGwire’s admission that he used performance-enhancing drugs, Montgomery decided to list several figures in the music industry who he believes are steroid users. Among them was Dillinger Escape Plan front man, Greg Puciato. Montgomery explains:

“The diminutive wailer for New Jersey spazzers Dillinger Escape Plan is ripped enough for a man five-times his size, and though he’s denied using steroids (he chalks his physique up to “eat[ing] a lot of protein and work[ing] out a lot”), we’re still not entirely convinced. Then again, positively destroying the stage on a nightly basis has to have some benefits, right?”

Puciato, who subscribes to the belief that “sometimes pacifism is simply being lazy,” responded to the accusation by issuing a statement to Noisecreep.com, decrying the allegation and giving its author a piece of his mind.

Montgomery soon realized the consequences of his actions after no doubt being scorched by legions of DEP fans.  He eventually reached out to Puciato via Twitter early Wednesday morning and not only apologized, but offered to write a retraction.  Strangely enough, Montgomery also tried to explain that his article was never intended to insinuate anyone was using steroids, but that is a story for another day…

While Montgomery is not exactly a reporter for the New York Times, his piece still lacked common sense and decency.  There is nothing funny about unfounded accusations of drug use.  One might wonder why he even wrote the article and question how much he actually believed in it since he was so quickly willing to apologize for it. Was it a looming deadline? A case of writer’s block? Maybe a good old fashion lapse in judgment? The world may never know.

What do you think?

Update

Montgomery has added an amendement to his article. In it, he issus an apology and attempts to explain his actions.

To err is human; to forgive is divine.