About Time PR CEO featured in article on Entrerev.com in which she shares advice on how other young entrepreneurs can start and build their own brands.
Before I was in PR I was in newspapers, magazines and blogs. For one of my more popular online magazines, I would get anywhere from 50-100 pitches from publicists on any given day. The majority were deleted, laughed at, junk-mailed and spam-blocked. There were a variety of reasons why your emails would be trashed and here are a few examples:
- “Dear Editor,”– My biggest pet peeve as an editor was being addressed as one. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my job—and I’m sure when people address the president with “Dear President,” it’s probably not so awful. However, in this situation you want my attention. You want me—the editor who has 80 writers to manage, 160 articles to edit and an editorial calendar to plan—to stop what I am doing and listen to why you think you should be featured in my publication. I think the least you can do is take five minutes to search the website and learn my name. If I’m going to put my time into promoting something you’ve created—FOR FREE, shouldn’t you be as committed and invested in this as I am? And shouldn’t that at least begin with a proper introduction.
- The Ten Page Email— The magic words are “Let me know if you’d like some more information.” Again, my time = valuable. I need to know what you’re pitching, why you’re pitching it, and to what it relates to in reference to my publication. This should all be addressed in the first few sentences. As a publicist you should be able to get your message across that briefly. Do not give me ten pages of your finest marketing copy unrequested. If I want to know more, I’ll ask and I might actually even read it.
- Mass Email Blunders—I believe this is the most gruesome truth about PR today. Mass emails are a bad business. They don’t get results, they don’t get my attention, and they don’t put your client’s best foot forward. Do personal emails take more time? Yes. Do they mean you need to look for exact names and emails? Yes. Does it mean you need to personalize the content of each email? Absolutely! Because if you don’t do that, then this happens:
- RE:FWRD:– When you put a fake “Re:” or “Fwrd:” in the subject of your email, you are obviously implying that we’ve had this conversation before. So am I more likely to open this email? Yes. Does it make me super pissed off to realize you’ve tricked me? Why, yes it does! DELETE!
- Unrelated Pitches – Sending a press release on the benefits of Viagra to a teen magazine? Looks like somebody is charging by the hour…
- Follow Up – If you pitch me a story and I really like it, I’ll respond right away and so should you! If you don’t, my inbox will flood and I will totally blank on what we were talking about. Similarly, if you pitch a client—such as the many that were pitched to me during this holiday’s gift guide do not follow up in February asking if your client was selected. For one: it tells me that you could give a crap if your client was selected, they’re not a priority. Two: It tells me that you don’t read my publication and didn’t check my website for this at all. I’d rather get a “thank you” or a “screw you” instead of a “did you?” When the answer is two clicks away.
- You Had a Good Pitch That Resulted in a Story, and Then You Never Pitched to Me Again – Why? If you’ve connected with me in an appropriate fashion, I enjoyed your pitch and featured your client—why did you never pitch me another client? This industry is all about building connections. I rely on your content just as much as you rely on my ability to publish it. Stay in touch and make the most out of a good situation!
The first phase is the idea. The idea part is awesome. You feel excited—you just came up with a plan for a product that NOBODY HAS EVER IN THEIR WILDEST DREAMS DREAMED OF! You are a genius. They should erect statues in your honor. Like this one. You spend all day mapping things out, making a business plan, buying websites, dreaming about the millions of yoga pants you can buy…
And then comes phase two: Working well with others.
I think even my kindergarten teachers can vouch for me sucking at this. I think it’s got a lot to do with impatience and the fact that working with others means waiting on others. And I don’t like to wait. I like to pull the plate out of the microwave at 0:02 seconds. I like to leave the house five minutes earlier than I have to. I like 1 minute grits. Because why should it take me five?
The past few weeks I’ve been in phase two and I hate it. I think it’s even worse with this particular project because I’ve been trying to work with people in different countries—and different time zones and with Today’s Teen and Materniteens I’m so used to working with people on my coast in NY.
There is a chat service that helps American customers work with China. I had finally figured it out and was waiting to get some interactions done. I waited for three hours before I realized why no merchants were online. It was 3AM their time.
I don’t get it. Does the universe really need to point out that the world doesn’t actually revolve around me?
Beyond the time distance, I have the added language barrier for some of my correspondences. When working with China my emails tend to look like this:
I would like to purchase 300 units of octopus helmets. What would the price for 300 units of octopus helmets including shipping to America cost?
The emails I tend to get back are like this:
How are you ?
Here is Helen,thanks for you attention our factory product.
Yeap, we can sale 300 packs of the octopus helmet cover for you .
Pls check attached pic that is our stock,choose which one you want .
The details for the octopus helmet
Material: single tentacle, size:42*36cm, suction:1/16 Thickness:14gsm Packing: 10pcs/pack.
If just 300packs maybe need transfet by express pls let me know your address so that I can check the freight charge.
Best Regards ~ !
It’s not always very clear what exactly you’re getting, how large it will be, and when it will arrive. I can tell already that a lot of my transactions will be hit or miss (anyone want to buy 6,000 octopus helmets?)
Thankfully, you will eventually bypass this phase of your project and move onto phase three: Actually doing shit.
And if I ever get my price estimates back, I’ll let you know what that’s like.
For now, enjoy this cool picture of my dog!