#media140 is coming, here’s your discount code..

Media 140

Media 140 is fast approaching, taking place on Monday 26th October 2009 at the Royal Institute of British Architects. If you haven’t got a ticket already then bag yourself one here and save £40 off the ticket price with the discount code ‘litman140’. Your ticket will then be £95 instead of the asking price of £135. Don’t say i’m not good to you.

Today’s consumer has a newfound power with the rise of social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, forcing brands and marketers around the world to find new ways to engage with their consumer. Brand profiles and reputations are no longer dictated to the consumer but on the contrary they are shaped and driven by consumer demand, which makes for exciting and challenging times for advertisers and marketers.

Attendees will hear ‘warts and all’ (although i’m not really a fan of warts) stories directly from the brands who are out there engaging with their consumers through social media platforms. The event brings together experts and practitioners including; Tom Bedecarre, CEO AKQA, Paul Hoskins Head of Customer Experience EasyJet and Ted Hunt Digital Communications Manager from Innocent drinks, to share and debate with an audience of leading advertising, PR, brand and marketing executives.

I’ll be going so gimme a shout if you are too, put some names to faces and all..

Finally, here’s a few names that are confirmed to be speaking;

  • John Beasley, Head of Brand, Red Bull
  • Mel Exon, Managing Partner BBH Labs
  • Amelia Torode, from the award winning ‘Compare the Meerkat’ campaign
  • James Hart, Director at leading fashion retailer ASOS.com
  • Robin Grant, MD of some agency (It wouldn’t be an event without Robin speaking!)
  • Noam Buchalter, Marketing Manager Pepperami, Unilever

Why personalisation is still key

Pitching to bloggers, it’s a necessary evil and probably loathed more than it’s loved. I find it fascinating being in the lucky (?) position to be able to experience both sides of the coin. I enjoy the therapeutic hobby of writing down my thoughts, yet at the same time, in my day job I also pitch to bloggers. I really quite enjoy receiving pitches myself because I’m always keen to see how others do it. At the same time, I always try to highlight the pitches that really took the time to research my blog, finding that little bit of information about me to show that it’s not just a blind email sent out to many others.

I thought starting off the email with Hello and their name was pretty much standard, common practice. It shows from the off that the email before them was specifically meant for them. If there was a mental tick box when I receive a pitch, that gets the first tick.

What riled me to write this post was receiving what I think is an awful attempt at ‘engagement’. That’s really what you’re looking for when pitching right? A reply gives you validation, maybe a celebratory fist punch in the air.

This isn’t however going to be a naming and shaming exercise. That’s not the point. We’re all still learning right? I’ve made mistakes along the way and will still continue to do so but seeing as we’re all in this together I’d like to address a few parts of the pitch that particularly bothered me. I also don’t wish to draw attention to the agency, client who they are contacting on behalf of or the individual making contact so I’ll use excerpts from the pitch but not explicit detail.

Here’s the first paragraph..

“I’m getting in touch with you on behalf of (removed) as I thought you would appreciate an advance look at its new UK advertising campaign. As Lit Man Live is influential within the Media sector, we’d like to take this opportunity to provide some insight into why (removed) is pursuing a new brand strategy, beginning with this (removed) (but it was a YouTube video)”

First thing: Address the recipient. Say hello and if their first name is on site somewhere, use that. Then there’s a chance that you’ll have me at hello.. It’s such a simple first step that really needs to be there, always. In this instance being addressed as Lit Man Live shows that categorically no research has been carried out, not a jot and I was actually a bit embarassed myself to receive it. I’ve been called a lot of things but that was the first time I’ve been called Lit Man Live. Personalisation is indeed key but when you get the basic fundamentals wrong, it’s shocking, not a great place to start.

Mack Collier writes:

Any pitch that doesn’t refer to me by my correct name is deleted immediately without being read.”

The whole debate about influence comes to fruition here also. Being perceived to be influential in the Media sector is complimentary but verging on laughable. Keep that in your internal notes but to me it’s signalling in the first paragraph what you want to get out of this before you’ve even asked.

Three overly long paragraphs about the history of the campaign, how it came about, who created it, who directed it and what they’ve directed before is not opt in. I didn’t read them, they’d lost me by that point. Instead of writing endless paragraphs of background info, make the email a bit more punchy and succinct and summarise the key messages in one short paragraph with an opt in at the end, something like would you like to find out more? It provides the recipient with the option and instead of metaphorically meeting them in the street and shouting your sales pitch at them, you’re going to talk with them on their level and see if they talk back.

Read the blog before you pitch to it. Show that extra level of research and mention a post that I’ve written and give me your opinion on it. Do you agree or disagree? What did you like about it and why do you think it’s relevant to what you’re pitching me with? Hint: It should be relevant.

You’ll probably be familiar with this, you can apply it to pitching too..

hugh

Final paragraph:

“The link enclosed is to an advance version of the video which we are specially making available to you. (If it was made available just to me, why does the video have 300 views?) We will be ‘killing’ this link at midnight GMT and making the video publicly available on (removed). If you would like to write about the ad and embed any video on your blog I would be grateful if you could link to the video on (removed’s) YouTube channel”.

I received the email at 4pm. They were giving me 8 hours to view the video before it was being ‘killed’. This pitch should have finished with the opt in, which requires more forward planning but may result in a more positive response. Asking me to write about it, embed the video on my blog and which link I should link to was too much. I wasn’t going to jump through hoops to write about a YouTube video.

Remember the cocktail party analogy here.

The next time you decide to solicit a blogger with the pitch of a client, imagine we are both meeting at a cocktail party. Imagine I don’t know you and we are meeting for the first time. What is the first thing you would say to me? I don’t think it would be the same words that you would have otherwise used when doing your “pray and spray” email solicitations about your client’s shiny new product or service. No, I think you would first introduce yourself and look for something in common between us. And then only if you were feeling comfortable would you try to pitch me on behalf of your client.

Finally, again, do your research. Tell me why you think what you’re pitching me is relevant. Customise each pitch. Why should I be interested? Seriously, all of the above, coupled together is the difference between talking favourably about it and highlighting it in more of a how not to pitch light.

Here’s a few useful resources to refer back to:

This is how you pitch a blogger

How to pitch a blogger

How to pitch bloggers

How to pitch a blogger

So how DO you pitch a blogger?

How not to:

How NOT to pitch a blog

How not to pitch a blogger

How NOT to pitch a blogger

How Not To Pitch A Blogger

How (Not) to pitch a blogger

The Top 10 in PR listed in The Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies 2009.

49th It’s with great pleasure to announce that for the 8th year running Consolidated PR has been named as one of The Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies 2009, the 49th to be precise! It’s a particularly notable achievement considering no fewer than 565 small companies sought a place in the top 100. Of that, only 10 were classified as being in the ‘Public Relations’ sector. You can see the full list here.

To be “the industry’s hottest property by 2011” is the goal we’re all striving to achieve and it’s an exciting time at the moment with some brilliant clients, great people to work with and a forward thinking MD who really gets all this new fangled online stuff.

Along with being ranked 49th overall, we were ranked as 28th in ‘Giving Back’, 33rd in ‘Belonging’, 66th in the ‘Leadership’ ranks, 68th in ‘Personal Growth’ and 86th in ‘Wellbeing’.

So what does that even mean? How do you define belonging for example?

Giving BackHow much Companies are thought by their staff to put back into society in general and the local community in particular

Belonging Feelings about the company people work for as opposed to the people they work with

LeadershipHow employees feel about the head of the company and its senior managers

Personal Growth – To what extent staff feel they are stretched and challenged by their job

WellbeingHow staff feel about stress, pressure and the balance between their work and home duties

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The top 10, in fact, the only 10 from the ‘Public Relations’ sector are:-

(18) Blue RubiconNew entrant

(20) Nelson Bostock Communications

(23) Brands2LifeNew entrant

(29) Text 100New entrant

(33) Shine CommunicationsNew entrant

(41) The Red ConsultancyNew entrant

(49) Consolidated PR

(94) Golin Harris

(96) Trimedia

(100) Lexis Communications

Interesting to note that of the 10 entrants, there are an equal amount of new entrants compared to agencies who have consistently remained in the runnings. Well done to Nelson Bostock, Consolidated PR, Golin Harris, Trimedia and Lexis Communications along with all the new entrants!

Lunchtime catchup with Jamie Burke of P2PR.

So I caught up with Jamie Burke, MD of Brando Digital and blogger at Social Glue the other day, who recently set up the P2PR community. Since launch it has been a runaway success, with active participation from it’s members.

We talked over lunch about all things Online PR, social media, paid for blogging (Chris Brogan) and of course ROI and the almighty echo chamber.

To view the video, click my face.. be nice ! (or alternatively you can click here if you can’t bring yourself to do it!)

There’s a whole host of videos also on the community, all of which can be found here.

As always, interested to hear your thoughts and feedback on the topics discussed. Hopefully you can take something away from it.