Author Archives: EvelynTipacti

ProfNet Connect Blog Roundup: Facebook for Journalism, Social Networks & the London Riots, Breaking into Product Placement

ProfNet Connect, our free online community for journalists, bloggers, PR pros, experts and communicators of all stripes,  features blog section where members can write and post as their hearts desire.  The site is chockablock with interesting people and content.  Here are some of the most popular posts from this week. Enjoy!

Breaking News: When to Speak Up and When to Shut Up
It feels timely to revisit a tried and true PR tactic after the riots in London: rapid response. When should you do it and when should huddle in front of the TV with your family and hope for a happy ending? Beth Monaghan, principal and co-founder of InkHouse Media+Marketing shares her perspective.

StudentAdvisor is looking for College Experts
Could you help a student and their family on the quest for the right college? StudentAdvisor is the home for trusted college conversations and they’re on the hunt to find the best advisors, college admissions professionals and experts to feature on their site.

Dear Gracie: Breaking Into Product Placements
Each week, Dear Gracie answers questions from ProfNet Connect readers with advice from our network of more than 44,000 ProfNet experts. This week she helps answer the question, “How do I get my product featured in a movie, or on a TV show or news program?”

Social Networks & the London Riots: Don’t Shoot the Messenger
Samantha McGarry, vice president at InkHouse Media+Marketing and a native of London, found it troubling that many newspaper, TV and online reports purported that social networks were somehow to blame for the rioting and looting. To this she says “rubbish,” and much more in this post.

#ConnectChat Recap: Using Facebook for Journalism
On Tuesday, August 16, ProfNet Connect hosted a #ConnectChat featuring Kim Bui, social media and community editor at KPCC, a part of Southern California Public Radio, a member-supported public radio network. The topic of the chat was Using Facebook for Journalism, where Kim shared her experiences both as a journalist and community editor to provide advice regarding how Facebook can be used to help members of the media. Sandra Azzollini, director of online content and community at PR Newswire moderated the event.

Stay abreast of conversations, trends and opportunities by joining us on ProfNet Connect, a free online community for journalists, bloggers and communications professionals to meet, connect and share their expertise.   Creating a profile on ProfNet connect adds a search-engine friendly element to your digital resume, bolsters your online reputation and enables you to showcase your expertise to media and bloggers.   Did we already mention that membership is free?

ProfNet Connect Blog Roundup:Getting a Job at Google, Push Marketing, Benefits of Sales Coaching

ProfNet Connect, our free online community for journalists, bloggers, PR pros, experts and communicators of all stripes,  features blog section where members can write and post as their hearts desire.  The site is chockablock with interesting people and content.  Here are some of the most popular posts from this week. Enjoy!

How to Get a Job at Google: Mustache, No Pants
What does it take to get hired these days? Try a website, a video, a mustache, and no pants. A brilliant marketing campaign has been waged by a jobseeker Matthew Epstein targeting Google as his next employer. Take a look at this great story as told by Krista Bradford, CEO of The Good Search, LLC.

The Mall, Internet Shopping and Push Marketing
Are you a mall shopper or an online shopper? Do you believe that value makes the difference between engagement and avoidance? See what makes Beth Monaghan, principal and co-founder of InkHouse Media + Marketing want to stay at home to shop instead of joining the crowds like most of us.

Benefits of Sales Coaching
Sales coaching is the proactive manner to help support the mentoring provided for sales professionals to improve their performance and to help them when having difficulties and is usually done on a daily basis. Counseling is a reactive fractured approach implemented when an employee is performing below expectations due to either a skill deficiency or an attitude deficiency. Drew Stevens, president of Stevens Consulting Group explains the differences between sales counseling and sales coaching in his latest post.

Top ProfNet Connect Bloggers
Since launching in September of last year, there have been more than 1,100 blog posts from contributors across a variety of industries, from real estate to sales, public relations to media.  This is a list of some of the top bloggers on ProfNet Connect, in no particular order, as shared by Maria Perez, director of news operations at ProfNet.

Stay abreast of conversations, trends and opportunities by joining us on ProfNet Connect, a free online community for journalists, bloggers and communications professionals to meet, connect and share their expertise.   Creating a profile on ProfNet connect adds a search-engine friendly element to your digital resume, bolsters your online reputation and enables you to showcase your expertise to media and bloggers.   Did we already mention that membership is free?

ProfNet Connect Blog Round Up – Rude Reporters, Hashtags 101, Building Communities

A snapshot of blogs on ProfNet Connect. Click the image to browse them all.

ProfNet Connect, our free online community for journalists, bloggers, PR pros, experts and communicators of all stripes,  features blog section where members can write and post as their hearts desire.  The site is chockablock with interesting content.  Here are some of the most popular posts from this week. Enjoy!

Why is That Reporter Rude?
If you’re a PR practitioner, there’s no doubt you’ve probably asked yourself, “Why is that reporter so rude?” Heidi Rafferty, a freelance writer and editor answers this question and provides some excellent insight into why this can happen.

Weekly Roundup: Branding Journalists, Using Wikipedia for PR and the Master of AP Style,_using_wikipedia_for_pr_and_the_master_of_ap_style

Jason Hahn, an editor at ProfNet offers this roundup of 10 interesting PR- and media-related stories found online last week.

Dear Gracie: Hashtags 101
Each week, Dear Gracie (ProfNet editor Grace Lavigne) answers questions from ProfNet Connect readers with advice from our network of more than 44,000 ProfNet experts. This week she tackles the question, “I’m an amateur Twitter user, and it’s not clear to me how and why I should use #hashtags. Since I can search for keywords on Twitter, I don’t understand what the difference is. What purpose do they serve? And is there a wrong way to use them? Sometimes I see really long hashtags — what’s the point?”

August MEDIAware
MEDIAware aims to bring you a selection of the most important media updates from the thousands available every day via MEDIAtlas, plus key media moves on the horizon, and a synopsis of interesting media news. Kevin Frey, senior media researcher at PR Newswire offers up this report each month.

Building an Online Community: Lessons Learned from ProfNet Connect
Sandra Azzollini, the director of online content and community at PR Newswire shares her insight on ProfNet Connect, the free online community we launched last year to connect journalists, bloggers, public relations pros, and experts. The site is coming up on its first anniversary in September and we’re taking a little time to reflect on our first year (so far) and to share some things we’ve learned about building an online community.

Pitching to the Hispanic Media Market

Reaching out to Hispanic media and knowing how to appropriately get their attention is incredibly important these days. Spanish-language news outlets, whether print, broadcast, or on-line, are high up there in circulation numbers and in audience figures, with many becoming equally as or even more popular than their English-language counterparts. Spanish-language outlets are always looking for news they can use to help inform their audience, so make sure you’re armed with what you need to help you get you on their radar. Here are some suggestions for you to follow:

  • If you’re looking to reach a consumer/investigative producer or reporter, they look for stories that are out of the ordinary, have new elements that make them extraordinary or affect a large number of people. Stories that involve fraud, scams and illegal activity tend to be on the top of their list because part of the job is to expose that and show others how to avoid becoming victims. Aside from the Hispanic angle, they like to know how the story affects other people and if it doesn’t, they want to know why. Journalists should have as many other angles as possible, in order to put things in perspective.
  • Stories which directly impact consumers’ pockets are a big hit, as are immigration-related issues.
  • Every press release should include information about all the subjects/elements that are part of the story, and whether or not they are available for interviews. For Hispanic media, it helps to know if any of them speak Spanish fluently. Obviously, the overall impact of the event or story is also a key element.
  • All news releases need to have a news hook. Make sure it is at the top of the release.  Journalists don’t have much patience for marketing events/stories. If it is not newsworthy content, it should be an advertisement, not a press release. If you want your story covered it needs to have a news angle.
  • The story should be translated into Spanish. It seems like such a common sense thing to do when trying to get the attention of a Spanish-language media outlet, but many fail to do this and only send it in English. A Spanish version of the press release is needed because a lot of time is lost in translation, and journalists don’t have time to lose. If the topic is timely, you lose coverage when you don’t provide a translation.  If  the item is going to take too long to translate, it’s likely to not be used unless the release is not evergreen and time isn’t a factor.
  • One of the most important things is providing a Spanish speaking spokesperson that will be available for interviews. This person needs to be well versed on the subject and should speak Spanish fluently. What good is it to have a press release in Spanish if there are no elements to produce an effective story for the audience? In addition, they must be available other than the usual 9-5 hours. Media is 24/7. It would also help if this person has some TV experience.
  • Some journalists like a combination of bullet points and a couple of paragraphs that summarize the story because it is less time consuming to read those first and read on if those catch their attention. That means that those who fill pages with small text end up wasting their time. Make the release easy to read.
  • Know your market–not all Latinos are Mexican. Mexicans are not the only Latino ethnic group. For example, a story regarding tortillas might attract more Latinos on the West Coast or the Southwest than in Florida or New York. The same goes for music. Los Tigres del Norte (popular Mexican norteño ensemble) might be huge stars in the Mid West, Texas and West Coast, but they may not have the same reception in a place like New York.

Pitching to Hispanic media really isn’t all that different than pitching to the general market outlets.The same standards and the same rules apply, with only some fine tuning necessary. Just remember to have your press releases or your promotional materials in Spanish, have a spokesperson or representative who speaks fluent Spanish, and understand the differences between the ethnicities so you can pitch accordingly. ‘Latino’ and ‘Hispanic’ are used to group everyone together, but your biggest mistake could be thinking Latinos/Hispanics are all the same.


(Good luck!)

Authored by Evelyn Tipacti, Community Editor, Profnet.

Do you love ProfNet?  Are you focusing increasingly on Hispanic media?  Then ProfNet en Espanol is for you! Like its English counterpart, ProfNet en Español allows you to respond to media requests for expert spokespersons through a subject matter expert database powered by Hispanic PR Wire. You can also send Expert Alerts with commentary on hot topics.  Learn more about ProfNet en Espanol and PR Newswire’s other multicultural services, and fine tune your Hispanic media relations strategy.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Oquendo

Getting on the Radar: Tried & True Media Relations Best Practices

Over the course of my career, I have belonged to the two sides in the media world that have always had the most conflict – - that of a journalist and a media/public relations professional. Having successfully experienced these two professions, I have learned many lessons in developing a positive and mutually advantageous relationship between what can be humorously described as a relationship similar to “Tom & Jerry.” Tom chases Jerry and Jerry hides. Tom usually gets the short end of the stick and Jerry walks away without a scratch.  But when these two become friends, it’s a perfect match with both helping each other as much as possible.

Many PR pros continue to make the same mistakes when trying to communicate with the media. While some of these suggestions may seem obvious, I’m hoping this post will help you develop a better relationship with a desired journalist or media point, and assist you in taking that first step in your outreach.

“Do I Call, or E-mail?”

Most journalists prefer you e-mail your pitches because they simply don’t have the time to speak with everyone who calls. As a result of too many calls, many journalists just don’t answer their phones. The majority of the media folks with whom I’ve spoken all say e-mail is still the best way to reach them, even if it is becoming more of a hassle to manage.


How many times have you heard you shouldn’t e-mail a pitch to a mass e-mail list? It’s understood why it’s done – - reach many journalists at one time and hope that one bites the bait. It can sometimes happen, but it will most likely be a turn-off for the majority of recipients. There’s no exclusivity, obviously, and it gives the impression you don’t care because you’re just sending the same exact message to every journalist on that list. Do some research and determine who you want to reach specifically. Ask yourself, “What journalists cover my industry?” Read the articles and blogs of the journalists/outlets you want to reach. Get to know what the journalist likes and what he/she writes about most often. Journalists stress, time and time again, that you absolutely must know what beat or industry they cover. Make a pitch that corresponds to their interest(s). It’s detrimental to a PR professional to pitch a kitchen gadget to a health reporter, for example. (Yes, it happens.)  Once you know exactly who you want to target, make a list of their name, title, outlet and e-mail.

Customize the Pitch

When you know who you want to reach, customize your pitch to one journalist at a time. Familiarize yourself with that person’s work and mention an article they’ve written in the past and try to connect it to what you’re trying to pitch. Tell the journalist why it would be good for them to look at what you’re offering. Make the journalist’s job easier. Don’t forget that journalists always want to break news on a new trend or subject of interest for their readers. If you show you care about the publication and the journalist, it will come across in your pitch and the journalist will be more likely to work with you (if not now, then in the future).

“Why should I Care?”

Place yourself in the journalist’s position. Your pitch has to be interesting to the journalist, not to you or anyone else at your company. You’re already thinking it’s a wonderful product or a wonderful event, but why should the journalist or the audience they reach care? Tell them why it’s interesting and showcase how your pitch stands out from the others. If you can provide the answer to this question and show why your pitch is newsworthy, you’re ahead of the game.

Get to the Point

It’s a challenge to get your message across, no matter how you go about trying, but nowadays you must do it quickly and succinctly. Simply put, get to the point. Make the pitch short and sweet. Some PR professionals don’t understand that journalists can receive up to 1,000 pitches a day via e-mail. It’s impossible to read them all, so if you customize, target and make it short and to the point, you’ve got a much better chance than the person who sent a long email without any personalization. Also, avoid hyperbole or jargon that oversells.  Keep the message simple and don’t send any large files. Most journalists deal with an overload of information on a daily basis, so make it easy for them and for you.


Your goal is to get a reply from the journalist, but it’s amazing how often people aren’t around when a journalist does reach out! Provide a phone number where you can be reached after standard work hours. Also, if you’re in New York and you pitched to someone in California, make note of the time difference. Their afternoon is your evening, so if they like what they see, they may reach out to you while you’re having dinner. Be available.


The media world is incredibly competitive, so you understand that exclusives are absolute gold to journalists. You need to think this out carefully, however. You need to pitch correctly and decide to whom you want to offer your exclusivity. This means that you will only give a particular journalist or outlet your story. It will make the outlet look good to its audience and make you look like a star.

Be an Expert

It’s vital that you – - or any person listed in your e-mail or press release as a contact – - actually have in-depth knowledge about what’s being pitched.  You must know the ins and outs of the product, the event, whatever it may be. Thoroughly understand what you’re representing. If you can’t answer a journalist’s questions, don’t put your name as the main contact. Journalists need the information when they contact you.


Once you finally get to speak with a journalist, listen to what they have to say and find out more about what interests them. Even if the journalist decides to call only for an opinion or is interested enough in you that they call you, become someone they can trust and don’t be rude if they tell you up front they’re not going to use your pitch. They very well could reach out to you in the future. Your goal is to get on their radar as a trusted source of information. This will help you build the important personal relationship.


So, you say you have all of these suggestions down? That’s great, but there are also a few things you should never do.

•          Don’t send an attachment in your e-mail. Most journalists won’t open e-mail with attachments unless they know the person and trust them.

•          Send your pitch in plain text. Journalists will ask you for more details, including a photo, if they’re interested. If they do ask for a photo, please have one ready and don’t provide one that looks like it was taken by a child using a 35mm camera in a dark room without flash. Get the hint? It must be high-resolution and professional quality.

•          Never call a journalist on deadline, and don’t leave a long message. If you know a newscast airs at 6 p.m. and you know the health reporter you pitched is airing a series this week, don’t call them at 5:45. This is why knowing their deadline is so important.

•          One of the worst offenses, however, is calling a journalist immediately after you’ve sent them a pitch asking them if they’ve seen it. This particular “pet peeve” always gets mentioned by journalists. It’s one thing to chase, but if you become a pest and a nuisance, you’re guaranteed to get nowhere … like Tom.

Authored by Evelyn Tipacti, community editor, ProfNet
Network with journalists, bloggers and peers, get the heads up on reporters seeking sources for stories-in-progress and position your organization’s experts for consideration by media and bloggers.  ProfNet is an invaluable resource for the connected media relations department!

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Reaching Tech Influencers: Insight from NY Tech Heavyweights

The Publicity Club of New York held a panel discussion with the top “New York Tech Influencers” and some great advice was offered by the journalist panel. The influencers at the event were Daniel Sieberg, Host, ABC News Now “Tech This Out” and Contributor, ABC World News Now; Dan Frommer, Deputy Editor, Silicon Alley Insider; Adam Ostrow, Editor-in-chief, Mashable; John Abell, New York Bureau Chief, WIRED; Nick Bilton, Lead Technology Writer, The New York Times Bits Blog Reporter, The New York Times.

The room filled with communications professionals listened intently at the suggestions provided by these prominent and well-respected members of the media. The first to speak was Dan Frommer of Silicon Alley Insider, who says he is bombarded with more email than he can handle and spends more and more time deleting it. He stresses less, but stronger communication. He simply gets too much off-topic material that he will never use. Frommer is responsible for up to six stories per day and has to manage his time effectively. So what does he want to see? If you have information that’s not supposed to be written about, he wants it. He also wants introductions to the executives at the companies he covers like Apple, Google and Facebook. He also looks for people who can provide a good video interview, mainly a CEO. He advises PR pros to not contact him via a twitter direct message and also not to call to follow-up on email because it’s annoying due to the hundreds of pitches he gets everyday. He doesn’t answer calls because he’s too busy and although email is becoming more difficult to manage, it’s still the best way to reach him.

Nick Bilton of The New York Times Bits Blog says to please send “Shorter emails. I look at email and hate it. I can’t navigate the intense amount of information.” He suggests that an email be like a tweet, no more than 140 characters. Bilton says he looks at himself as 70% reporter and 30% sales agent because he’s trying to promote the products about which he writes. He believes that an interesting story is more important than an exclusive, although he does understand how exclusives can work for other media outlets.

There’s a “symbiotic” relationship between PR pros and the media, according to John Abell of WIRED. He also says that the level and means of the communication is important. “What we do is a work in progress by necessity.”  The magazine version of  WIRED is a monthly so they can work on longer stories but John is looking for things that are happening “now.” The dot-com has a video team so he’s also looking for stories that can work there. Abell says, “I don’t answer the phone” and email is still the best way to reach him even if it’s “ridiculous.”

Adam Ostrow of Mashable says the company began five years ago and is now a 30-40 person team in New York City with an office in San Francisco. Coverage has evolved and they write about new technology and things that happen on the web. It definitely covers social media but it’s also more than that. He looks for contacts and information regarding Google, Twitter and Apple. An interesting marketing campaign may also get Ostrow’s attention. They have ten million visitors a month, over 300k fans on Facebook (they have several pages there) and over 2 million followers on Twitter. Ostrow looks for breaking news on big companies, information about companies that do anything in the digital space and they also look for startup companies. They have a “How To” section as well so if there’s something you pitch that doesn’t work for the news sections, it could be sent to another editor and get placed in the “How To” section if appropriate. The New York office is currently building a video studio so Ostrow will also be looking for guests to interview.

Daniel Sieberg of the segment “Tech This Out” is returning to the social media world after a self admitted digital diet. He steered clear from Facebook, Twitter and MySpace for almost an entire year after realizing that he personally needed to improve his social life and get more face time with those closest to him. While he tries to once again reconnect with social media, he’s also looking for new things to cover. Sieberg wants a good trend or personality and the more lead time, the better. Email is the best way to reach him but in a condensed fashion. He likes bullet point-type emails where you say, “This is why it’s timely and why you should care.” if you’re sending him video, tape is useless, you need to send him digital files. Also, accentuate stories. Sieberg says, “If you can furnish video, it helps us create a story.” He also asks for high quality visuals and “stuff no one else is getting.”

The topic came up regarding how journalists rarely respond to acknowledge an emailed pitch. The reason is because they get close to 1,000 emails a day and have to parse through them to find what is actually needed, respond to the sender and actually create the many reports for which they’re responsible. If a journalist is interested in what is being offered, they will reach out, but it’s important for a PR person to understand it’s not a personal thing, but a sincere lack of time and the sheer impossibility of responding to hundreds of people.

No matter the media outlet with whom you work or with whom you’d like to work, make sure to always follow the guidelines offered which can be from the outlet itself or an individual journalist as many work differently with PR professionals. Always know what is covered, deadlines and how the journalists want to be reached.

Authored by Evelyn Tipacti, community manager, ProfNet

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