Stories by Michael Smart

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How Your Attitude About Yourself as a PR Pro Can Sink Your Media Pitches

July 10th, 2017 by

Self-help gurus say you are who you are if you think you are. Same goes with pitching, where confidence is 90% of the game. Michael Smart tells the story of two pitches that were similar but one made a critical error and ended up on in the trash.

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How to Keep Your Confidence Level High When Making a Pitch

May 22nd, 2017 by

In part, pitching the media is a confidence game. For that reason and several others, it’s critical to keep your confidence level high when pitching, pitching guru Michael Smart argues. While Smart understands why journalists blast PR pros at online sites, he urges pitchers avoid those sites lest they lose their confidence and abandon techniques that have worked and will continue to be successful.

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Keeping It Personal: How and When to Personalize Your Media Pitch

April 10th, 2017 by

As readers know, media pitching guru Michael Smart advocates taking a personal approach to targeting reporters. Still, Smart explains that there’s a fine line between personalizing a pitch and becoming too personal for a business situation. It’s also crucial to know when and where to personalize a pitch.

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The Rush to New Platforms Is Over, Write and Pitch Better in 2017

January 16th, 2017 by

My take on the new year is different in its emphasis: 2017 will be when we realize that the land rush associated with new channels and platforms is over, and we no longer have excuses for not focusing on the key elements that drove PR for the century before digital media: quality and credibility. Yes, we’re at the tail end of a few years’ window when you could get ahead simply by posting more frequently to your brand journalism site than the laggards. Google rewarded sheer quantity. And you could get a bunch of free followers by jumping onto Facebook before your competitors, and then Twitter, and to some extent Instagram. This channel-hopping seemed like the new normal. But in the grand scheme of the history of marketing, it will be viewed as an outlier on the front end of the digital revolution, where fundamental rules got bent for a while.

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Media Pitching Lessons From the Purring Engine of GM’s PR Team

November 14th, 2016 by

Recently it was a PR rep from a huge government organization. He said, “This is all great, but I don’t have any problems getting media attention. They’re calling me every day.” What a huge opportunity he is missing! Whether you’re at a big brand or a small one, it’s not solely about the volume of stories that include you. It’s whether you can place the stories you want told.

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Question 1 From Influencers You Pitch: What Audience Can You Deliver?

October 3rd, 2016 by

It’s become part of the journalist’s editorial calculations by necessity. If they cover you, how many page views can you deliver to them?

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How to Hone Your Message-to-Influencer Match

July 11th, 2016 by

You know how bloggers have invented a writing subgenre of mocking the PR pitches they get? Recently I saw a lengthy takedown of a PR firm’s effort to publicize what the blogger felt was a hollow startup. The blogger portrayed the PR firm’s pitch as comically superficial. I’ll forego linking to the post because I prefer to avoid boosting ad revenue for crass blogs that bully people. Admittedly, the pitch material was superficial. It went against every principle of clear writing that I teach. All things being equal, the PR firm’s staff should have pushed back on the startup to get more concrete facts about the new company’s goals, what it does and why it’s credible. But that wasn’t the main problem, and it didn’t prevent the startup from ultimately succeeding elsewhere; more on that below. The biggest problem is where the startup’s material landed: in other words, where the material was pitched. Granted, the pitch was directed to a blog that’s well read among the startup’s target market: millennials. But this particular blog also is known for snarky opposition to PR outreach. It was like putting red meat in front of a gaunt, stray dog.

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PR Pro or Pest? How Fewer Pitches Can Make You a Trusted Source

May 2nd, 2016 by

An overabundance of options usually leads people to consolidate their trust into a few select providers.