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Journalists like to tweet and they like to drink

As a continuation of last week’s post, where PR renegade Shaun Saunders interviewed Murray Newlands, and leading up to next week’s PR Summit in San Francisco, I present an entertaining conversation with Greg Galant, CEO of Sawhorse Media (creator of Muck Rack and the Shorty Awards).

Greg is one of those guys we can all learn a lot from; in terms of just normal human being-ness…he’s pleasant and unassuming but not afraid to ruffle feathers. It’s a fine balance, but he does it with extreme adeptness. In this interview he talks about the future of PR, what journalists like, and that little thing called Twitter. P.S. He will be speaking at PR Summit next week!

Rebekah Iliff: What was the impetus behind Muck Rack, and how’s it going?

Greg Galant: When we created the Shorty Awards in late 2008, we were surprised by how many journalists were using Twitter to do their jobs. We had inbound press requests from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC and many more. At the ceremony our pressroom was filled with over 60 journalists. We ran out of drinks for them.

So we learned journalists like to tweet and they like to drink. We thought we could help with the former desire. In April 2009 we [Sawhorse Media] launched Muck Rack as the first place to find journalists on social media. After we saw its popularity, we re-launched in late 2011 as a full-fledged social network for journalists and introduced Muck Rack Pro to help companies get more press.

We’ve got over 15,000 journalists on Muck Rack. Most of the top PR firms and many Fortune 500 companies are using Muck Rack Pro, in addition are many “growth stage” companies including Hubspot and Hootsuite. We also have many tiny startups using it to scale their PR efforts.

RI: How has the PR role changed since the days of Steve Jobs (i.e. needing to know 4-5 journalists to get your story out)?

GG: Three big things have changed in media:

#1 – There are many more outlets that matter.

#2 – Journalists change jobs and beats more frequently.

#3 – You can find and build relationships with journalists using social media.

The first two make life harder for PR pros, but the third is a huge opportunity most people in PR are still not taking advantage of, in my opinion.

RI: Talk about the concept of “Slow PR” – what does it mean, and why does it deserve lip service?

GG: Much of the PR industry has devolved into writing stale press releases and emailing it en masse (i.e. spamming) to hundreds of journalists. Emailing lots of journalists the same thing seemingly doesn’t have a cost. But it’s not very effective. And in the long term there’s a big cost to your reputation.

Slow PR is about using social media to heavily research which journalist you should connect with, building relationships and sending focused pitches – over time. Continue reading…

He said, she said: don’t embargo my love

Few PR related topics get more “love” than the ever-controversial, ever-confusing, ever-take-it-or-maybe-leave-it embargo.

That’s right, the word whose original meaning was a “partial or complete prohibition of commerce and trade with a particular country” was [for some reason] adopted by the PR industry as a tactical approach to breaking a news story. God forbid we choose words like “plant” or “sprinkle” as in: “I’m going to ‘plant’ this news around to a few journalists and then ask them to ‘sprinkle’ it out on ‘X’ date.”

Ahhh, so nice. Friendly, really.

But noooooo. In order to have the most impact the industry really went for the jugular.

Much like the hostility a government-mandated embargo elicits from oh say, a country like Cuba, some journalists likewise have this reaction.

As goes the PR industry…others don’t have this reaction. In fact, in a completely unofficial poll conducted by yours truly, roughly 8.3 journalists (ranging from top-tier media to niche industry publications) were split 50/50 on the topic.

don't embargo my loveThis week, as a follow-on to last week’s “5 don’ts of PR”, Tech Reporter X is back. And let me just preface this by saying he hates with a capital “H” embargoes. I have to admit that some of his points were confusing to me, so I turned to my former colleague (she and I started a tech PR firm together years ago) Kristen Tischhauser, to provide her feedback on his responses.

After all, true journalism requires an equally balanced opinion.

His responses to my question “ok, well, what are PR folks to do INSTEAD of embargoes” were as follows. Kristen’s responses to his responses are below each bullet. This is like “PR Inception” so get ready:

Tech Reporter X: Because I genuinely care about this, I’m going to give you my relatively well thought out answers. Yes, I’ve though a sh*tload about this over the years. The most basic options to embargoes are:

#1 – Just put out the press release and inform reporters a few hours or a day or whatever in advance that you’ll be putting out news without telling them what it is. That way people who really care about the company will pay attention and the rest will ignore it. Yes, you might get less coverage. But you don’t have to worry about embargoes getting broken, which they almost always do, and so what if you don’t get picked up by TechCrunch AND Venturebeat AND AND Pando…AND AND…

Kristen Tischhauser:  This approach will appear lazy to clients and most reporters I’ve worked with. Often times they have enough knowledge to ask us to embargo the news…so it’s always a balancing act. I could never say to a client “hey, we might get less coverage, who cares.” They may freak out. And this advice wouldn’t be relevant to an unknown startup that is just getting its feet wet with the media, because most journalists don’t know who they are yet. Early on it’s about getting clients in front of the right media and sometimes embargoes are the best way to do this.

TRX: #2 – Give someone an exclusive. This takes work, but get to know reporters and know who would most want an exclusive on the particular story and who would put in the most amount of care. Yes, you will piss other reporters off, but then go to a different reporter with the next exclusive. Spread the wealth. Or you’ll find out that nobody cared, which is often the reaction. Remember that good tech reporters are never sitting on their hands waiting for sh*t, they’re always working on multiple stories, so understand that your story may not register.

KT: I agree with this. What journalist wouldn’t want an exclusive if the news is compelling, disruptive, groundbreaking, etc.? There are also creative ways to go about garnering multiple placements after pushing out the exclusive. For example, switch it up – after the exclusive goes live, contact other media outlets in other relevant verticals and offer them a different “exclusive tidbit” that wasn’t offered to the outlet that initially broke the story. This way everyone’s happy – they’re getting a different angle and different information to include in their story and the news won’t be stale. Continue reading…

Experience: the tailor to any saggy startup suit

There are good writers, great writers, and talented writers; then there are excellent communicators whose medium for connecting to the world happens to be writing.

These last folks, if you can find them, are invaluable to the forward movement of any individual action, company change, or global shift. They can articulate things in a way that leaves the rest of us speechless, or in my case, feeling like I should perhaps go back to Creative Writing 101.

Doug Crets is one of these [what I would call] communication intuitives. And yes, I just made up that term. But the point is, I’ve known this guy since he started at Microsoft BizSpark (provides valuable resources to promising startups at no charge) a little over a year ago at a Startup Weekend event. He wrote this post (#BikiniGate) and after reading it I thought: this is the kind of communicator I want to be. Storytelling, insight, reflection, and connecting the dots with a hint of humor.

microsoft bizsparkIn one year what he has done at Microsoft is nothing shy of magical. Within the confines of a massive, moving beast of an organization he has put BizSpark on the map and launched a live chat show, Startuplandia, where he interviews some of today’s leading thinkers, entrepreneurs, and founders. He provides the all-important human element to these otherwise monotonous tech stories. He fights for the little guy but can spar with the big guys.

Doug sat down with me last week to talk about the future of PR and super connectors, governments and their lack of inspiration, what makes for a great story, why startups fail, and a variety of other things. Anyone in the throes of creating something, anything – a company, a piece of art, a shift in thinking – can learn from his words and take to heart his unique approach to communicating thoughts and ideas.

To whet your palate, here are a few “gems” from his interview:

“If you take the experience out of a story, all you have is whining, or blather. Experience is the tailor to any saggy suit.”

“You know, people cling to media like they cling to flotsam in the ocean.”

“Government often uses [that] sentiment to feed the egos and the agendas of a powerful few.”

“London would not be London if you did not discover something that nobody told you about.”

I digress.

Rebekah Iliff: What is your definition of PR?

Doug Crets: I think what’s happened is that marketing and PR have been pushed into a new realm of customer communication and interaction.

PR is what I believe community managers and social media people are doing on the web and in mobile from big to small brands. PR responsibilities are still largely managed by PR companies or teams, but it feels to me that in many cases, those duties are locked into a behavior that comes from an older way of managing media sentiment. Today’s PR is more like curating. And discovering. It’s bringing people into your brand to help you mold and shape a voice for the brand and its community.

Brands are communities now, so PR means to me that you are helping the community govern itself and discover its values, so that it can act on them. And the more you empower those people to do that, the more they love the brand.

RI: What do you think BizSpark does right in terms of PR?

DC: What do we NOT do right? I mean, we’re amazing. All kidding aside, we are extremely responsive on social media channels and our team works very well, globally, to develop these relationships at scale. We are not only chatty, but we are inclusive, responsive when we can be, and curious. We function like a series of listening nodes, and we communicate well internally, so that we are as aware as we can be of the needs and moves of the community. We assist, as well as promote our members. Continue reading…

Porn, prom dresses, PR: Bill Tancer talks data

Bill Tancer has been hailed as the leading authority on what people are really doing online and what it means for business and society.

You want to know details about online porn behavior: who searches for what, how often, and what sites they visit after? Bill.

Or perhaps you were wondering what time of year teenage girls shop for prom dresses. Surprisingly, this is also Bill. We don’t question genius.

He’s all about data, search, and what the hell everyone from Marilyn the mom to Joe the juvenile is doing, and the implications of that behavior on buying habits and trends.

In a shining example of just how geeky he can get, I bring you this recent @billtancer tweet:

@investingmom Tuna searches are on the rise… pic.twitter.com/8fq1iy55he

Currently the General Manager of Global Research for Experian Marketing Services and perhaps best-known for his New York Times Bestseller “Click” – to us AirPR folk Bill’s just one of the gang. As our trusted advisor and friend (and additionally my secret pro crush along with Steve Jurvetson – you won’t find THAT online) he has been an integral part of our insanity growth over the past year.

Enjoy his insights and words of wisdom. He’s like, one of the smartest people on the planet. Oh, and he will also know whether or not you have read this.

Rebekah Iliff: You’re all about search and data. So, give us the goods: how can PR pros use search behavior to create more compelling narratives around a brand?

Bill Tancer: I’ve been able to show executives and marketers how consumers search for their brands and products. This data often informs brand positioning and targeting and can also be informative in terms of crisis communications. For example, we worked with analysts around an auto-recall and found how people were searching for the information; knowing how they searched we pushed out paid ads to reinforce positive messages which offset negative messages that were showing up in the organic listings.

PR pros can learn a lot from search and educate themselves more adeptly on how products are consumed. In terms of new, emerging brands or companies, search behavior around existing, similar products can inform how we craft a PR plan.

RI: But wouldn’t you agree that PR likewise affects online behavior?

BT: Yes absolutely. A great example of this is an experience I had with Hulu. Right after they came out of beta we did analysis of who was visiting and found the #1 age demographic was 55+. I published this information and some PR folks from Hulu got angry and emailed us telling us we were wrong.

Before they launched, the site was getting traffic from search and social networks. After the PR push, where they secured stories in the New York Times and USA Today, the traffic started skewing older because of those outlets’ audience. It created this anomaly in traffic. This is a perfect example of how PR efforts can change behavior and why it’s imperative that PR targets are aligned with a products’ core audience.

Word to the wise: traditional media may not be the right way to launch emerging companies and more emphasis should be placed on niche digital outlets and social.

RI: How many times have you been interviewed do you think? Continue reading…

PR launches “4A” PR campaign

In what seems like a move of sheer, brazen nepotism, today I bring you the wonder that is Ted Iliff.

In tight circles, he is more affectionately known as “Cousin Ted”. Or as my friend and colleague Kristen deemed him (after leading us on a 15-hour private tour of Venice, Italy and enlightening us at every water-laden turn), “Encyclopedia BriTedica,” or “B-Ted” for short.

Growing up, the stories of Cousin Ted were as legendary as they came. He was elusive, and clandestine, and I thought that maybe one day I would be as cool as he was, or at least as interesting – minus the mustache.

His resume ranged from CNN and USA Today to TV channels in Montenegro and Albania. He inaugurated a nonprofit’s international division, introduced TV news to the Voice of America, professionalized official news media in Iraq, and designed a Web-based radio news service in Kosova. He taught journalism in Turkey and Armenia, mentored counselor educators in Afghanistan, keynoted conferences in China and Malaysia, emceed conferences in India and China, and conducted media relations seminars across the United States.

How could a twelve year old possibly live up to that?

While I’ve gotten over my initial feelings of intimidation – growing up does have its advantages – I haven’t gotten over my perpetual need to listen to and learn from this amazing man.

Fresh on the heels of the recently released “Out of the News: Former Journalists Discuss a Profession in Crisis”, where he sheds light on his path out of journalism to teaching and consulting with author Celia Viggo Wexler, here is B-Ted’s take on everything from journalism, to news media, to the definition of PR.

When did you get bitten with the journalism bug?

Ted Iliff: I knew when I was young that I wanted some kind of career path that would take me overseas, specifically to Germany for family reasons. I nibbled the journalism bait in an introductory course at Kansas University (KU) my freshman year. The first semester of my sophomore year I took the beginning news writing class, and that was it. At the end of that semester the Topeka, Kansas paper hired me as its KU freelancer, and I spent the rest of my college years concentrating on freelancing, the school newspaper and summer internships. I left without a degree (I got one years later) because I just wanted to work in journalism.

Did you always know you were a storyteller/writer? What were some early signs?

TI: I always did well with writing in school, but I didn’t think about it much as a career path until college.

In your opinion, has the practice of journalism changed since your days at CNN? How so?

TI: First, I have to say that I consider myself an “old-school” dinosaur in the profession. I worry about (and teach) language precision, accuracy and fairness. Those principles appear to be pushed to the background in favor of personality, opinion and “sizzle.” I understand how audiences are attracted and held, but broadcast business models don’t seem to have much room right now for important issues and events unless they raise blood pressures or activate sweat glands for viewers. And most of all, accuracy (facts and language) seems to be optional. At least there is plenty of evidence to support that allegation. Continue reading…

To seem less elusive, PR changes name to Tom

Tom McLeod is the personification of PR. In other words, if PR were encapsulated in a human being, Tom would be that person. Instead of a crotchety, aging man, unsure as to his ultimate fate (Are we dying? Why is no one responding to my press release dammit!), PR would walk right up to you, […]

Entrepreneur Media’s Kara Ohngren talks startups, PR, and journalism

In the words of my dear friend and founder of Astrsk PR, Elliot Tomaeno: “This is the future, and we’re living in it. So deal with it.”

This was his [indignant yet charming] response to a discussion we recently had as to how technology has changed the communications landscape, for better or worse. PR pros, companies, and journalists alike have their roles to play in this rapidly moving, information overloaded, content rich world.

Entrepreneurs, on the one hand, must understand how technology can either catapult or kill their business – faster than ever. On the other hand, PR pros are required to make rapid changes so that emerging communications tactics and modes, driven by technology, not beat them at their own game and render them obsolete.

But journalists, oh journalists, they sit squarely in the middle. They have the power to facilitate or fan the flame of “catapult” or “kill”; likewise, they [often] make the rules around which technological communications advancements will be embraced, and which will die a slow miserable death.

Case and point: telephones. I’m sorry, no, phones. Actually, what I mean is smartphones, and more specifically iPhones.

These devices are not to be used for calling a journalist. Don’t do it, unless of course you know them relatively well. Even then, it’s a dicey proposition. “I prefer text or email” is a common battle cry.

Don’t Facebook them. Don’t Tweet them pitches. God no. Only Connect with them on LinkedIn if you’ve shared a handshake, a mutual event, or a conversation. Email them, but make it personal. But not too personal because then you seem fake-ish. And no one likes a fake. Especially a fake who’s acting like a fake. It’s like journalist “Inception.”

Jesus Christ it’s like trying to get a UN treaty passed just to get to them.

But I get it, I do. These folks have a unique job. They must field (on a daily basis) thousands of pieces of information coming at them from every possible angle; then, in the midst of the “info chaos”, find the creative space to think about all these things and string them together into one linear piece of digestible content. That’s a lot of pressure, and it takes an extreme amount of discernment.

The best ones are hard to get to by design. We must respect that. But the best ones are also passionate about the stories and the people they put on display for the world to see. Because when a journalist tells a story in a compelling, thought-provoking way the outcome far exceeds any dumb sales or advertising tactic aimed at a customer.

Enter: Kara Ohngren, Entrepreneur Media. She’s been an amazing advocate for startups over the past several years and is one of the best. My personal appreciation to her runs deep…and I am grateful for journalists like her because they are an integral part of the public discourse in our startup-crazy, tech-saturated world.

What excites you about covering startups and the entrepreneurs who build them?

Kara Ohngren: Startups are the future. Never has there been a more exciting time to be an entrepreneur. There are so many resources and tools available to help people launch and grow businesses and a real culture has emerged around the startup scene. It’s thrilling to write about people who refuse to take the conventional career path, but rather insist on embarking on their own to create something innovative. I never get tired of hearing about entrepreneur’s unrelenting passion and persistence to make their dreams come true!

Who are some of the most interesting entrepreneurs/companies you’ve covered over the past year?

KO: I’ve had the privilege of covering some really cool up and coming startups this past year. Everyone has a unique story, but a few that stick out in my mind are:

SpiritHoods – A Los Angeles-based faux-fur accessories maker inspired by festival culture and endangered species.

Social Toaster  an online marketing service that snagged $2 million in funding by sticking close to home.

Modify Watches –  a hip young startup that’s bringing back the wristwatch and making it relevant in the tech age with interchangeable styles and quirky designs.

Krochet Kids International – an Orange County, Calif.-based social venture that teaches crocheting to women in the developing world — and then helps them sell their wares in the U.S. Continue reading…

PR myths and future models, Peter Himler gets cheeky

He got his start in entertainment PR, and then migrated to the global agency world as the youngest VP at Hill & Knowlton. He then spent six years as Media Director of Cohn & Wolfe, followed by over a decade as EVP at Burson-Marstellar and a stint as Chief Media Officer at Edelman. Today, Peter Himler is the founder and principal of Flatiron Communications LLC, and one might say he’s learned a thing or two about PR along the way.

“A thing or two” being an obvious, flippant term because the depth of knowledge and insight he holds is [quite possibly] indescribable. His ability to understand and embrace the precepts upon which the PR industry was built while simultaneously accepting its rampant change is refreshing if not vital.

Mr. Himler’s voice is an important one for challenging the PR status quo, and his quest to understand what we were up to (within days of our launch) was simultaneously flattering and frighteningly adept.

We caught up with him over brunch a few weeks ago in New York at what I gathered to be his customary booth at Balthazar in New York’s trendy Soho neighborhood.

This man does not play.

You’ve gotten coverage for clients in virtually every outlet from the New York Times, Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal to TechCrunch, Mashable and PandoDaily. Can you talk a little bit about the types of “stories” those outlets generally publish.

Peter Himler: It’s hard to compare these media outlets. They’re so editorially distinct. Each covers a wide array of people, topics, industries, companies and organizations, except perhaps for TechCrunch, which has maintained a pretty singular focus since its founding. However, within their respective technology news holes, any rumblings from one of the following companies usually gain traction: Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, and Netflix (we should all be so lucky to work at one).

Types of stories include: material news (affecting stock price), new products or services, M&A, litigation, outspoken executives, remarkable growth, strategic partnerships, etc.

How do you tell a client their product is not right for a specific publication they have deemed important? In other words: how do you let them down gently?

PH: Much of what we do is timing and luck. Given the expanded amount of editorial real estate a digital news outlet can offer, I’d be hard-pressed to rule out something outright. Of course, if the publication just did a major feature on my client’s industry or if the publication’s primary competitor recently profiled my client, these would be non-starters.

One question I ask myself: “are you embarrassed to pitch the story or not?”  (Does the story fit into the publication’s editorial DNA?) Remember, you’ve got to be in it to win it. The timing may be in your favor. Continue reading…

PR Entrepreneur Sabrina Horn dishes on the future of PR

A few weeks after our October 2012 launch, Sharam (AirPR’s CEO) received a LinkedIn message from someone at HORN requesting a meet and greet with [the one and only] Sabrina Horn.

He showed me the email and we were both a bit skeptical.

I immediately pinged a friend who had launched her career under the wing of Ms. Horn a decade before. She is now an “entertainment + tech” PR pro living in L.A. and repping some of today’s biggest celebs alongside their startups of interest. Having built her reputation on being an exacting, straight shooter practically incapable of your run-of-the-mill PR bullshit, we knew she would give us an accurate assessment.

“Is she nice?”

“Should we be scared?”

“We know she’s smart but is this a clandestine operation issued by none other than the Public Relations Society of America?”

After being reassured that (despite her tough business exterior) Ms. Horn was known historically as a good listener, extremely intuitive, nice in a particular way that leaves room for good folks and weeds out the bad, and constantly looking for ways to innovate in the PR space, we were sold.

Here is our happy ending: she was better than great, more open than we had expected, and has become an important ally in our quest to build a platform that serves the PR industry in unique and compelling ways.

So Sabrina, ah-hem, Ms. Horn, we thank you…for being a true PR innovator and entrepreneur. Where others could have thrown in the towel you kept pushing, changing, growing, and ultimately building a company that has been a true leader in the technology and PR industries.

Now for the goods…

You’ve built a thriving PR firm over the past twenty years, what are the top three things you believe have enabled your success?

Sabrina Horn:

  1. I listen carefully to what my employees tell me, as I often find out the real crux of an issue by talking to my employees… things get lost in translation. You can’t be a CEO that doesn’t get into the trenches.
  2. Ask smart questions, especially the question “Why?” People often get excited about things they are passionate about. What may seem “obvious” to them may just not be feasible. Clients think they want X, when what they really need is Y. Our job is to counsel people about their options or give them options when they didn’t have any. The only way to provide that counsel is to dig, get them to tell you more and figure out what the end goal really should be.
  3. Trust my instincts. If something smells fishy or just doesn’t feel right, you have to trust your gut and follow your instincts.

What makes a client difficult to work with? (Characteristics, expectations, etc.)

SH: Very high expectations based on an uninformed or misinformed view of a situation; fear of losing power resulting in a command and control relationship; anda dysfunctional highly political organization that squashes creativity.

In your opinion, what are the key components to maintaining healthy PR/Client relationships?

SH: I tend to see this as four-pronged:

  1. Honest and open and frequent communication about what is working and what is not.
  2. A relationship that is based on trust and professional friendship where each has the others’ back.
  3. Free and open access to information about the client’s offerings, access to executives.
  4. Healthy appreciation for the agency model.

What is the biggest misconception about PR?

SH: The biggest misconception about PR is that it is a tactical press machine designed to solely “get ink”. PR is one of the most underrated and powerful tools inside a company and is exceptionally strategic and valuable when given the opportunity and provided by likeminded people.

Continue reading…

The Next Web’s Managing Editor and his PR wish

Martin Bryant is a breath of tech press fresh air. As Managing Editor for The Next Web (based in the UK), he’s seen his fair share of interesting companies and reported breaking news for hundreds of tech startups across the globe.

Before AirPR launched our Investor Program a few weeks ago, Hermione Way (who has worked with TNW as video editor for the past several years) suggested I contact Martin to push out the story. Here is what happened:

Step 1: Emailed Martin and referenced Hermione’s suggestion to contact him.

Step 2: Within 2 hours received a very pleasant, British-accented email (in my head) expressing interest and asking for a few more details.

Step 3: After picking myself up off the floor (I had fallen off my chair in shock at both the timeliness and kindness of his email) I gathered the requested details and shot him back an email.

Step 4: He asked if I had a preference date for releasing the story.

Step 5: Cue chair fall. Got back up. Answered: “yes I do and thank you so much for asking.”

Step 6: Then…he ran this story and everyone was happy. The end.

Thank you Martin for being the type of dream journalist every smart PR person who does their homework deserves to encounter…and thank you for sharing some extremely pertinent insights for this interview.

AirPR hearts you.

PR has been receiving quite a bit of “PR” lately – for better or for worse — why do you think this is becoming a part of the public discourse (at least in tech media)?

Martin Bryant: Part of the reason is that it’s now easier than ever to moan about bad PR, whereas in the past journalists may have just had to make do with discussing it with colleagues in the office. Through Twitter and Facebook they now have a platform to complain about unpleasant PR experiences in real-time. Indeed, some journalists seem to make a hobby of it.

At the same time, social media means that people in PR now have more ways to contact journalists. Horror stories about being emailed, phoned, mentioned on Twitter and sent a message on Facebook – all about the same pitch – are sadly not just stories, even if they are (thankfully) quite rare, at least in my experience.

Another factor is that seemingly more than in other areas of the press, the tech media is particularly good at navel-gazing. We love to complain about perceived poor ethical practices at rival publications, and discuss the minutiae of our own jobs to anyone who will listen. PR is a part of that mix, so it’s no surprise that it gets its own share of discussion on the pages of tech blogs.

How do you manage the barrage of coverage requests? Meaning, how do you filter, manage, make decisions about who to respond to, how to respond, etc?

MB: I used to have a straightforward rule – reply to everything I want to cover AND to anything I don’t, as long as the pitch was presented in a personalized way. While that worked when The Next Web was smaller, as we’ve grown, the amount of time I need to spend on email has rocketed. Now my rule of thumb is to reply to everything I want to cover, plus anything presented in personalized way that almost made the cut, but not quite. A lot of the time, I simply ignore the rest, although these are usually archived with a ‘Tips uncovered / rejected’ Gmail label in case I need them for future reference.

I know a lot of people in my position simply ignore anything they don’t want to cover, but I strongly believe that a decent pitch deserves a decent reply, and I endeavor to send one whenever I’m able. That said, some days that rule goes out the window if I’m particularly snowed under.

For all its flaws, email is a simple, straightforward system, and my inbox is where I like to receive all my pitches. As much as I try to reply to pitches via Facebook or Twitter, they often get missed – especially on Twitter where they may have disappeared down my mentions stream before I get a chance to handle them. Email’s always best!

Continue reading…