UnPitching: How Not to Suck at Pitching the Media – Vocus Webinar with Scott Stratten.

Yesterday’s Vocus webinar was titled “UnPitching: How Not to Suck at Pitching the Media” by Scott Stratten from UnMarketing. Stratten is the President of Un-Marketing. He is an expert in Viral, Social, and Authentic Marketing which he calls Un-Marketing. He is an author, blogger and was named a top influencer by Forbes.

Stratten quickly got to the point about public relations and marketing and what it’s all about. People react, people respond, people reach out. It’s about relationships. It always has been and always will be.

Stratten is an industry influencer with his blog Un-Marketing. As a result, he has been added to media lists and has witnessed firsthand what it’s like on the other side. He has received nightmare pitches of email blasts to a large BCC list, generic emails in ALL CAPS (unless you are giving birth, don’t use all caps in an email subject line!) among others.

The danger with media lists (and I fully agree) is that some people send an email blast without further qualifying the list and getting to know the journalists and if they indeed are a good fit for your client or company.

A few years ago, it was all about getting the media’s attention and now it is about reaching media as well as influencers.

He discussed a case study about a product launch of a new single cup coffee machine. An agency pitched the client that they wanted help the client gain more share of conversation. They were currently mentioned 0.04% in Canada when people talked about coffee. The agency proposed that they would increase the numbers by reaching bloggers and influencers and canceling the TV budget. (Stratten warns that in order to pitch executives about social media, you need to match the metric with the mind.)

The client eventually agreed and the agency ran a social campaign. They contacted 100 influencers and wrote individual letters. They got to know these people, offered to send a free coffee machine and then followed up two weeks later with a “What did you think?” No pressure to write about it or anything. Stratten was one of the recipients. He loved the machine. Then the agency had him pick 10 friends on Twitter and then sent those people a coffee machine. That is how buzz starts. (“I got to be Oprah!”) Eventually the campaign resulted in 12.6% mentions in Canada when people talked about coffee.

He went on to tell a few more stories about companies doing awesome things, and ones doing not so awesome things, including an unhappy customer at a pizza place that posted an image on Twitter that went viral.

Some other sound bites from the webinar:

  • Your brand can’t have a great person on Twitter and a sucky customer representative – you have to linear!
  • Pitching should be like a first date: get to know someone before you ask them out.
  • Social hasn’t diminished PR; it’s just shifted it. PR is no longer a megaphone. It’s a telephone & it’s on speaker. It’s about engagement.
  • Start the relationship before you need the relationship. (true in PR and also in personal networking)
  • Face-to-face isn’t dead. It’s more important than ever.
  • Don’t just pitch me. Be sincere. Get to know someone first.
  • There are two types of people you don’t want to upset. Geeks and Moms. If you anger a geek mom, good luck.
  • Outrage does not take the weekend off!! If you’re gonna play in Social Media, it’s 24/7
  • what you tweet is a billboard. you are always an employee – what you tweet can/will impact your employer.
  • You are not PR, you are the PR expert. Everyone in your company who represents your brand is PR.
  • Internally, PR pros should be social media training everyone, not just media training your CFO.
  • You have to match the metric with the mind! It’s not about Likes or Tweets. It’s about the conversation and sentiment.
  • You can’t stop the “geekalanche” – don’t censor your customers.
  • If you are in PR, spam is not okay. Do your homework. Make sure the people you pitch have expertise that aligns with your pitch.
  • Unless you are giving birth, don’t use all caps in an email subject line!
  • If you put your employer in your Twitter bio, every tweet represents your business.
  • Companies aren’t awesome, people are.
  • When you write to a company in anger, sometimes all you want is to be acknowledged.
  • Don’t put influencers on the spot on Twitter for help. If you wouldn’t do it in a crowded room, don’t do it on Twitter.
  • We are a forgiving society if we are “Immediate. Authentic. Appropriate” when something goes wrong in Social Media.

He shares these insights from his second book The Book of Business Awesome / The Book of Business UnAwesome. It is surely a great read and one to go on the bookshelves for marketers and public relations professionals alike.

Vocus offers a free webinar series for PR professionals. I recommend it to anyone involved in marketing, PR and social media.

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Posted on August 24, 2012, in marketing, public relations, social media, social networks and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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