Issue #788 Jan. 28, 2014
Publisher: Joan Stewart
“Tips, Tricks and Tools for Free Publicity”
In This Issue
- How to Fix a Lousy Pitch
- Don’t Say You’re “Self Published”
- Where to See The Publicity Hound
- Hound Video of the Week
This Week in the Hound House:
It’s -13 degrees here in Wisconsin. The birds are dining on my gourmet suet cakes, made with a mixture of peanut butter and cornmeal. The banquet for the squirrels features dried corn kernels, whole peanuts and sunflower seeds. Bogie and I stand in the comfort of our warm kitchen and watch the critters pig out, less than two feet away. They put on quite a show, even in this deep freeze!
1. How to Fix a Lousy Pitch
The next time you’re ready to pitch a journalist or blogger, write the pitch, read it over, and ask yourself:
“Other than the name in the salutation, could I send this same pitch to a second journalist or blogger without changing any of the content within the pitch?”
If the answer is yes, don’t pitch!
It’s time to go back and do the all-important research that will uncover juicy details about the person you’re pitching. Often, you can weave some of those details into your pitch, and even your subject line. A personalized pitch that you can’t send to anyone else sends the message:
“I know who you are. I know what you cover. I know what your audience needs.”
A lousy pitch shows you’re clueless. Here’s an example:
Subject Line: Do You Review PR Books?
“Hi Ms. Stewart:
“I’ve written a new book called ‘Easy PR in 15 Minutes a Day’ and I was wondering if you review books. If so, your readers will be interested in this one because I explain what they need to do to promote themselves by spending just a few minutes each day.
“Please let me know if you review books and, if so, let me know your address and I’ll send you a copy of the book.”
That same pitch could have been sent to anyone! Here’s a better pitch, loaded with personal details:
“Hi Ms. Stewart:
“You’ve written extensively at your blog and in your ezine about the importance of connecting with bloggers and journalists on social media sites. Your Publicity Hounds might want to know about dozens of free tools I’ve compiled that help them do just that.
“They’re in my new book, Easy PR in 15 Minutes a Day. Your Hounds will find cheat sheets, checklists, lists of things like free blogger directories, and sample pitches similar to the ones you’ve shared over the years.
“The next time you review a book, I hope you’ll consider this one. If you’re interested, let me know if you’d like the print book and where I can send it. Or I can send a link where you can download the ebook. Feel free to excerpt any of the information for your blog or ezine.
“P.S. I hope Bogie’s foot is healed and that you’re both staying warm in this deep freeze.”
That pitch would definitely get my attention! Here’s an example of another great pitch that my friend, BL Ochman, received from one of her readers. Notice how he lets her know immediately that he knows who she is, he knows what she covers and he knows personal details about her.
The end of the post includes links to three other posts I’ve written that will help you research and pitch.
2. Don’t Say You’re “Self-Published”
Even though authors who publish their own books are gaining new respect, some people still think the word “self-published” means “loser.”
Book shepherd Judith Briles cautions authors to never, ever use the word “self-published” because it falls under the same umbrella as “vanity press” and “pay-to-publish publishing.”
Assuming you aren’t any of those, she prefers “small press” or “indie publisher.”
All those words are used interchangeably, but shouldn’t be, she says.
She defines all of them on her blog post titled “Don’t Confuse Independent Publishing with Self-Publishing.”
This was one of the 11 gems I learned on the recent Publishing at Sea cruise I enjoyed this month with Judith and about two dozen other authors. Find all the gems at my blog.
3. Where to See The Publicity Hound
I’m visiting San Francisco, New York City and the Denver area in April and May.
This is an ideal time to book me for speaking, training or consulting and save on my travel expenses because you’ll be sharing them with my other clients.
–A brown-bag workshop at your PR agency. You choose the topic.
–Coffee at your favorite cafe, where we can work together rewriting your pitches.
–A working lunch to define and find your target audience.
–Bring me in for a Meetup. You choose the topic.
Interested? Contact me at JStewart@PublicityHound.com and let’s check our schedules.
4. Hound Video of the Week
I’d run a mile if Louise the Owl got her talons anywhere near me. But Annie the Bird Dog sits patiently and actually seems to love the attention.