Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pitching to Bloggers: Hey I Did That!

Lately, I'm seeing a lot about how to pitch to bloggers. I find it interesting because I've actually had good luck with this. So, I thought, it's really not that hard, why not share what worked for me.

1. Be Super-Targeted in Your Pitch
First off, I don't pitch everything to bloggers. I look for stories that are a good fit for the medium (these may not come up often), and I only pitch stories that fit with a certain blog's niche. Which brings me to #2.

2. Research the Blogs
Every industry has blogs, good ones and bad ones. I found library blogs by asking librarians. Radical, I know! I found someone in leadership who reads a lot of blogs, comments on those blogs, and even personally knows some of the bloggers. She helps select the right blogs for a certain story. Then I go and actually read the blogs I'm pitching. I read the "about the blog" section and the "about the author" sections, too.

3. Get an Introduction and Start Building a Relationship
I was lucky that I knew someone who knew the bloggers and was actually connected to the first story I was pitching. She e-introduced me and set up the story I was sending. Then I send a personalize hey-this-is-why-you-care bit and then included the press release.

Side note: yes I send bloggers a press release, and yes they actually run it. It works because I still send a personalized pitch. The release is added to the bottom of the message, with a "If you'd like a little more background, here's our official press release" note. I'm mostly pitching to info tech blogs and they do semi-regularly run a release and cite it as such (which I knew because I'd researched them)

I follow up and thank them when they run the story and ask if they'd like to hear about similar stories in the future. I've always gotten an enthusiastic "yes, please." Bloggers often have quotas, so just like traditional media they need story ideas.

In my limited blog-pitching experience (about 3 stories, so far), I've had about 150% success rate. That's because not only has every blogger I pitched, picked up the story, it'll also cascades into other blogs I hadn't even contacted. Got to love that.

Monday, June 29, 2009

My Sister Ran Off: Part 2

Here's the video I mentioned in the last post. I'm not sure how good it will turn out. I shot it with my Blackberry and it was very noisy in there.

Sarah may be hard to spot. She's part of the pack, wearing a red shirt and short black skirt. If you can make out the numbers, she's 314.

If you want to see some stills of the Angels of No Mercy, you can check them out in my Flickr photostream.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Sister Ran Off with the Roller Derby

Today, John and I are trekking to Stillwater to watch Sarah's second "bout" with the Angels of No Mercy Stillwater roller derby team. Pretty wild, huh?

You'll be relived to know that the current roller derby revival is not as rough and dangerous as it's earlier reincarnations were rumored to be. But it is still very much a contact sport. There are 5 women to a team and they skate around a flat track. The jammer, or scorer, attempts to lap the pack and earn points by passing skaters an additional time. The remaining skaters are blockers. They--you guessed it--block the jammer and the other team members.

The sport is extra fun for players and spectators alike because of the alter-egos and related costumes each skater adopts. Sarah skates as Sarah Bellum, and this month she's featured on the poster! It's a Greece theme, she's the Sandy.

Maybe tonight I'll get some video of Sarah skating and share it tomorrow!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

APR Flash Cards: Foreign Registration Act

In a way the law section of the APR exam is difficult, because if a particular law doesn't effect your corner of PR then you are unlikely to be familiar with it. On the other hand, there are only a dozen of so laws you really need to remember and since it's the law, it's pretty black and white. Here's one I had to learn.

Category: Law
Front: Foreign Registration Act
Back: All persons working as foreign agents (govt. company, or political party) must register within 10 days with the US Attorney General and report under oath every 6 months the names of foreign interests working for, activities carried out and how they spend their money.

Pretty hard core, huh?

Monday, June 22, 2009

This Week I Heart: True Blue Spa Line

It all started with a quest for the world's thickest body butter. In the winter, my skin is so dry I can't moisturize enough. I've found body butter is the way to go, if you can find one that's thick enough.

I was at a Bath and Body Works, sticking my finger in every sample tub of body butter, when the "friendly" sale girl asked if she could help. I told her I wanted thick, thick, super thick body butter, the thickest you got, as thick as Crisco, and thicker than that if you have it.

She kind of smirked and handed me a tub of the Too Shea body butter and said "Try this," but she said it in a sarcastic-you-don't-know-what-you're-asking-for kind of way. It was perfect (and she was shocked I thought so). When I read the ingredients I knew I'd found the only body butter I will ever need. Ingredients: Shea Butter. Too Shea and I have been living happily ever after ever since.

A couple weeks ago, I won a spa-themed basket at an auction. In it was a bottle of the Shea It Isn't So foot cream and Look Ma New Hands hand lotion. I am sold. This stuff is awesome. And now I can't wait to try more of the True Blue line.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Hey Runners, You Totally Want to Do This!

Since 1988, Lions and Jaguars have sparred against one another in a race to determine the big cat in town. When it comes to Moore War, rivalries run deep and emotions run high.

Saturday, August 29th, alums from Moore and Westmoore, as well as members of the community, will put aside their differences to come together for a common cause--current students. The Moore and Westmoore Alumni Associations are excited to team up to present the Inaugural Moore War Run.

This 5K run through downtown Moore will benefit the scholarship funds for both high schools. This run is sanctioned by the USATF and will be timed with ChampionChips. Registration packets will be available for pickup on Friday, August 28th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at Old School Business Center, 201 N. Broadway, Moore. Timing chips and packets will be available the morning of the race beginning at 7am.

Advance registration open through August 15, 2009. You can register online here. Your support will help both Moore and Westmoore Alumni Associations present scholarships to their graduating seniors in the coming years.

Disclaimer: I will not personally be running in the 5K, but I do plan to be there working the event. Tell me if you are racing and I promise I will cheer extra loud for you!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

They Hate Me for Being Tall (See How Ridiculous That Sounds)

It seems plus sized women now think Ann Taylor is discriminating because the chain has cut size 16 from the stores (although it is still offered online). This article was pretty interesting. It explains the business decision behind such a move. If you read the comments you'll see many people still refuse to accept the "excuses."

If Ann Taylor is discriminating against big gals, then 95% of the stores out there are discriminating against tall ones (ridiculous, right?). At 5'9", it's nearly impossible for me to find a pair of pants and shirts all look like they are 3/4 sleeves (but, really I just have gorilla arms). It's not uncommon to find an entire section of petites or even plus sizes, but when have you ever seen an entire tall section? You haven't; they don't exist.

While this is frustrating, I refuse to jump on the crybaby-I'm-discriminated-against-bandwagon. I have an unusual size/shape, I got over that a long time ago. After a dozen years of shopping for this body, I've figured out where I can buy certain "problematic" items (slacks and blazers). And I, like the plus-sized ladies, am often forced to rely on catalogs. It's not a big deal.

Here I am looking very hot, if I do say so myself, (and very tall) in my orange Ann Taylor shift.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

APR Flash Card: All Publicity is Free

We all have our little linguistic pet peeves, something people say that grinds our nerves a bit. One for me is "free publicity." It's like saying "ATM machine" or "GOP party." It's redundant because publicity by definition is free.

Category: Terms
Front: Publicity
Back: Disseminating purposefully planned and executed messages through selected media, without payment to further the particular interests of an organization.
ex. Submitting a press release to the local paper announcing an upcoming fundraiser.

Honestly, this particular peeve only gets to me when it's used by people who should know better. For example, if you are, say, writing a book on publicity and speaking at conferences about the topic, you should probably understand the definition of the word. IMO

Friday, June 5, 2009

Family Vaca Starts with a Splash

Yesterday afternoon, my MIL, GMIL and I arrived at family vaca 2009 (my husband was in Indianapolis, long story). The rest of the crew arrived the day before, so we settled in and went to the pool to say hi. We were just dropping by, so I didn't bother to change into my suit.

I enter to screams and squeals of "Aunt Bonnie get in the pool. Aunt Bonnie come in the water," and "Where's J.R.?"

Decided to be a good sport. I took my shoes off and stuck my feet in so I could talk to everyone and maybe even get in a few hits on the beach ball making its way around the pool.

Then Cousin Carl starts towards my end of the pool, humming the Jaws theme song. Honestly, I thought he was teasing. Carl is a big teaser. And when he grabbed my ankles and gave a little tug, I still thought he was teasing. But when he tossed me over his shoulder and start wading into the deep end, I started to wonder if he was actually going to dunk me.

And of course, he did. I was tossed into the middle of the pool fully dressed (in a white t-shirt, no less). Luckily I was wear a bra, so we were able to keep it PG for the kids.

This is me and Carl. I didn't stand a chance.