The Awesomeness of Pitching, and the Suckiness Thereof, to Both Bloggers and Journalists

As a journalist and blogger, who has helped companies place press now and again, I realize that although I have two areas of expertise, I also have two areas of possible irritation to fight against. Like too many things in my world, this too is best expressed… in a table.

Awesomeness of Pitching Journalists

Suckiness Thereof

Awesomeness of Pitching to Bloggers

Lo and the Suckiness Came!

They know what a good story looks like.

They mistake being graceless for being “hard boiled” and “no nonsense.”

They are not hobbled by a predetermined definition of their “editorial mission.”

Sometimes they wouldn’t know a good story if it bit them on the ass.

They understand you are a resource.

They don’t know what “wikis” are.

They are on the forward edge of tech, and often of culture in general.

They’ve never kissed a girl. (Except for some of the girls.)

They work within a strong set of practices and ethics.

What practices? What ethics?

They are not hidebound. (Yet.)

They are constantly reinventing the wheel. Or trying to drive without one.

They got into journalism because the world fascinates them.

They age badly.

They’re brave and enthusiastic.

Their experiences are limited.

They’re answerable to the public

They’re timid.

They’re beholden to no one.

They’re accountable to no one.

They’re sensitive to context.

Constantly twisting to the tune of cutbacks, psycho publishers and circulation stats.

Capable of cutting through the “common wisdom.”

Hard to hear over the meaty applause of private feuds.

Published articles are imbued with authority.

Excessive pressure on journalists to write a lot, fast, piles error on error.

A blog’s comment discussion adds dimension and dynamic to a story and can keep it alive.

Inaccurate and malicious comments abound.

People still take the most insignificant local newspaper more seriously than the most important blog.

Once they buy your pitch, they have to pitch it up.

They can make an immediate decision to run with your pitch.

They have the thin skin of adolescent girls.

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PBwiki and the press


I’ve been working this past month helping PBwiki, the world’s largest providers of wiki software and hosting, to build on recent successes by getting some good press coverage. My goal was to secure commitments to publishing four stories, which I’ve done. (I’ll add links when the articles become available.) [Update: five now.]

There’s good and bad in doing press placement, especially if you are, or have been, a journalist (as I am and have been). The good is, once you get the commitment, you don’t have to write the story. In fact, in most cases, you can‘t, since you’re in the subject’s camp. The bad is, once you get the commitment, you can’t write the story. Sometimes, you have to find the writer but even then, if you’re on the up-and-up (oh, and I am) you can provide access, but can’t puppet the writer around because that would, among other things, reduce the credibility of the piece.

There is a nice thrill when you hit though, when your vision of The Story is appealing enough, presented well enough and focused on the right people and the editor, or reporter says, Yes, that’ s a great story.

With PBwiki it was easier than most. For one thing, the company had three good stories ready made.

First, they recently received over $2 million from Mohr Davidow Ventures, acquired competitor Schtuff, struck a deal with 30Boxes and unveiled a new point-and-click editor. In other words, they’re surging ahead in a crowded field. (Well, they’re dominating it, with 150,000 users.)

Second, I saw an interesting, and easy-to-apprehend trend piece in their vital relationship with educators. Of their 150,000 users, 30,000 are educators. Wikis are a real pedagogical tool (not just a resource) for educators and their students. PBwiki has an educational advisory board of 50 professionals, has an enthusiastic group of educators who started to give presentations on how to use the product quite independently of the company (though it is now actively encouraged) and stories of the educators’ creative use of wikis, including a collaborative design/build project in New Orleans.

Finally, PBwiki partnered with the United Nations on the “Global Compact.” The Global compact initiative is a collaboration of around 3,000 companies and 700 organizations in over 100 countries to create a voluntary corporate responsibility pledge. PBwiki is providing the collaborative frame work for this undertaking. (Totally awesome? Yuh-huh.)

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