Lindsay Bell

Join Ed Zitron for a Special Author Q&A Today

By: Lindsay Bell | July 16, 2014 | 

Ed ZitronBy Lindsay Bell

Ed Zitron doesn’t mince words.

You just have to peruse his website, or read his author bio to get the feel for his honesty, and his down-to-earth style.

Wait. What? How can you be honest and down-to-earth and be in PR?

Ed Zitron is going to tell you!

He calls himself “awful” on his Twitter bio (he also calls himself British), but for now he’s a New Yorker, a journalist, a sometime photographer, and a PR professional “who’s made every mistake along the way.” He also founded EZPR.

His book, This is How You Pitch, is a number one bestseller, and personally, I think it’s plain speak such as the following that is one of the reasons why:

Does the idea of glamorous parties, open bars, and rubbing elbows with the rich and famous sound like an exciting career for you? Then neither this book or a career in public relations are for you.

At the heart of this book is a key message: BE REAL!

Zitron’s goal in writing it was to share what he says is the core skill of PR: Pitching.

His other goal? To help you “…avoid becoming a buzzword-spitting automaton that the media will hate.”

Be still my beating heart. I think I’m in love.

Hang tight my friends, because today is the day when Ed Zitron graces the stage here at Spin Sucks for another live author Q&A.

He can answer all your PR questions for you:

  • Why are people hanging on to an antiquated view of the industry?
  • Why is the pitch so important?
  • Is it really possible to survive and prosper in the dog-eat-dog world of PR?
  • How hard is it to start our own agency?
  • What’s next for the industry?
  • Just what *were* some of those mistakes he made, hmmmm??

Today’s Author Q&A with Ed Zitron

At noon ET (that’s 11:00 CT, 10:00 MT, and 9:00 PT for those of you who can’t do time zones), Ed will be here to answer any and all of your questions.

In order to participate, all you have to do is:

  • Make sure you have a Livefyre account or be ready to sign in with one of your social networks.
  • Set a reminder for noon ET today.
  • Order the book so you can support Ed and get your learn on.
  • Create a list of questions (if you haven’t read the book, you can bribe Gini and she’ll write some for you!).
  • Come back here, scroll to the bottom, and write a comment in the form of a question. As soon as you hit “post comment,” Ed will see it and reply to you. You can even join the conversation around questions others are asking, if you like.

We’ll be here for an hour so you can join us the entire time or step in and out during the hour. It’s entirely up to you; just make sure you’re here before 12:59.

Win a Copy

Those of you who participate in today’s author Q&A (even if you’re late to the party, but not if you’re an Arment Dietrich employee) will be entered into a random drawing for a free copy of the book.

Don’t forget – you have to actually leave a comment, ask a question, or participate in the chat to be entered in the drawing. Otherwise we won’t know you were here.

Get ready with your questions and join the conversation. And don’t fear! If you missed the live portion of this, we’ll keep the drawing open until midnight PT so you still have time to get in your questions.

Former Guests and Who’s Next

For former guests, check out Margie ClaymanSarah RobinsonMark StoryBeth HaydenSarah EvansStanford SmithChris BroganC.C. ChapmanMitch JoelDanny BrownChuck HemannMichael BritoDJ WaldowTom MartinAhava LeibtagJay Baer, Shel Israel, Mark SchaeferGini DietrichRob Biesenbach, Steve McKee, and Neal Schaffer.

And following are the dates for the next few months, so mark your calendars!

Same bat time, same bat channel.

About Lindsay Bell

Lindsay Bell is the content director at V3 Marketing, and works in Toronto. A former TV producer, she’s a strong advocate of three minutes or less of video content. She has a cool kid, a patient husband, two annoying cats, and Hank Dawge, a Vizsla/Foxhound/moose hybrid. Ok, maybe not moose.

  • Looking forward to it!

  • BobRentItToday

    Thanks for the invite.

  • Arment Dietrich, Inc.

    It’s a half an hour away, y’al! Do you have your questions for Ed ready??? ^ep

  • *cracks knuckles*

  • BobRentItToday Happy you’re here, Bob!

  • biggreenpen YAY!

  • Am I early? Am I late? Am I anything?

  • ClayMorgan You’re something, that’s for sure. 😉

  • Am I the only person walking on a treadmill right now?

  • Ok, let’s get this how on the road! Welcome Ed! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us what you love the most about PR.

  • Did someone bring treats?

  • <—aka Treats

  • ginidietrich birthday cake oreos

  • @ginidietrich Don’t mention treats!!!

  • belllindsay I can’t ride and type at the same time. It’s perfect for meetings, but not for working.

  • ClayMorgan So. Good.

  • edzitron

    belllindsay Thanks for having me. I like the fact that I can get paid money to email people I already want to talk to on the internet. Sometimes I meet said people in person and I talk to them then. I don’t even have to talk about work. It’s great. 

    I sound like an insane person, but I like the talking to reporters a lot. Also my clients are all great and I enjoy talking to them. Which isn’t common for PR.

  • RobbWexler Very funny LinkedIn invite you sent Lindsay.

  • ginidietrich That’s why I love the treadmill! 🙂

  • edzitron belllindsay Being insane is an underrated PR skill.

  • Woohoo! Welcome edzitron! Looking forward to this!

  • edzitron belllindsay Reporters are almost always interesting folks to talk to.

  • edzitron Ever met someone you thought you would REALLY like, who turned out to be a moron?

  • Eleanor Pierce edzitron belllindsay *biased

  • ginidietrich RobbWexler Thanks…I still don’t understand why more people in a creative industry send non creative invites.

  • belllindsay I AM HUNGRY

  • RobbWexler ginidietrich Made my day! I hope you get those steak knives!!

  • ginidietrich belllindsay PB&J???

  • edzitron

    RobbWexler ginidietrich Because 95% of the time nobody reads what you put in your LinkedIn invite. Same logic behind why people don’t put much effort into Okcupid messages or, indeed, pitches.

  • Eleanor Pierce ginidietrich belllindsay People. This is supposed to be about edzitron 😉

  • belllindsay edzitron Does that include family members?

  • OK, can I jump in? I have a question! I haven’t gotten a chance to read the book yet (shame! it’s on my list!), but I’ve read that you recommend people don’t automate social media posts. Not at all? Why?

  • edzitron RobbWexler ginidietrich Wait. Was Robb hitting on me…?

  • One of the things that drives me crazy is when you interview a new college graduate and you ask them why they want to go into PR. Their answers vary, but my favorites are “I’m great with people” or “I want to plan parties.” Um…what are they teaching you in school?

  • belllindsay Eleanor Pierce ginidietrich OK, so edzitron. What’s your position on snacks?

  • belllindsay Eleanor Pierce ginidietrich edzitron Does cold “Original” oatmeal count?

  • ginidietrich I have been wondering about that “college” thing for years. What ARE they teaching them?

  • ginidietrich I want to plan parties!

  • Eleanor Pierce Do you want to know what’s funny? People sent me peanut butter and bread after that post.

  • Eleanor Pierce YAYAYAYAYAY! I don’t automate either. People tell me it’s because I’m OLD! #rude

  • edzitron

    Eleanor Pierce Because you never know when said post is irrelevant due to circumstances around them. Boston Bombing for example – there were a lot of (undeliberately) crass things going out around that time. Also it’s not really an interaction when you’re just calendaring everything you say or do.

  • LauraPetrolino ginidietrich I’m happy if I can plan my lunch.

  • LauraPetrolino Sigh.

  • ginidietrich Eleanor Pierce Like, in the MAIL??

  • edzitron

    ginidietrich My answer to that is “have you met people?” Usually stumps them and then they think about it and occasionally get depressed. 

    I’m helping.

  • DwayneAlicie No.

  • Eleanor Pierce YES! And I was at a party on Saturday night and a friend handed me a jar of peanut butter!

  • edzitron

    RobbWexler ginidietrich PR College education on the whole I’ve found teaches you about 10% of what you actually need to know, nothing about pitching, and is a lot of ra-ra “oh my god PR is gonna be great for you” stuff without, well, any actual information you can use in the job.

  • belllindsay edzitron RobbWexler ginidietrich Lindsay…no of course not…I only hit on people on Thursdays.

  • edzitron LOL!!

  • ginidietrich Eleanor Pierce Wow.

  • edzitron ginidietrich HAHAHAHA! I love making people depressed.

  • I’m only about seven or eight months removed from being the exec editor of a largish daily newspaper. I don’t think I ever bit on one “pitch” sent via Twitter. Can you offer a strong strategy for effectively using Twitter to pitch journalists?

  • What do you think the most common misconception people just going into the industry have?

  • edzitron ginidietrich How would both of you answer that interview question today?

  • belllindsay Who tells you that???

  • edzitron

    ClayMorgan Don’t do it? Ever? Like stop doing it. Forever. Put your pitch tweets in a box and sail them out to sea and let them drown.

    Unless it’s a reporter that specifically asked you to pitch them via DM, which I have had. 

    Otherwise don’t do it ever, ever. Nobody likes it.

  • edzitron ClayMorgan I know I hated receiving them but it sure seems to be popular advice these days.

  • DwayneAlicie edzitron If I were asked why I wanted to go into PR? You know my answer…to change the perception that people have about the industry. We’re not liars and flacks. We are part of an investment an organization makes in its future.

  • Eleanor Pierce Usually ginidietrich

  • edzitron

    LauraPetrolino This is like picking my least favourite child.
    The answer is probably that most people go into the industry thinking it’s going to be this party-planning socialite party atmosphere. 

    Another answer is that they think that they’re automatically smart and cool and awesome, and that they enter into the world of PR as a self-edification exercise when this job is more akin to politics or lobbying, which if you know about either of those jobs you’ll know that they suck for – unless you get lucky – at least the first 5 years.

  • edzitron RobbWexler ginidietrich My degree is actually in journalism with a PR focus. We did not talk about pitching ever.

  • edzitron

    ClayMorgan edzitron Please give me the names of anyone advising this – links too – and I will publicly shame them.

  • edzitron LauraPetrolino “This is like picking my least favourite child.” << LOL

  • edzitron ClayMorgan *swoooon*

  • ginidietrich DwayneAlicie edzitron Yeah! It’s an exercise in anachronism but … just wondered how both of you would answer it knowing what you know now. And you know, I think you are doing a great job of fulfilling your mission, Gini!

  • edzitron LauraPetrolino Funny enough I started my career in politics… yes, exactly!

  • edzitron LauraPetrolino Sounds exactly like TV land. Don’t miss it.

  • You seem to have great sympathy for reporters (me too, I was one and still have may reporter friends). What’s one thing you wish  more PR people understood about reporters?

  • You tweeted that you consider open rate in PR an important metric. I get what you’re saying – did a reporter open your email – but with the reading pane, it could look it was opened, but that doesn’t mean it was read. So is open rate really an important metric?

  • edzitron

    Eleanor Pierce edzitron RobbWexler ginidietrich I did two PR courses in college and 99% of what i learned in PR was simply through the fact that my first job constantly threatened me with being fired because – unsurprisingly – I didn’t know what I was doing. I learned to pitch like a guy in prison learns to shiv people because he has to otherwise someone else will shiv him.

    That example is inelegant.

    I was also a reporter for 7~ years and the truth is that that only helped me in the sense that I feel like that defined me more as a person than my PR career did. Hence I didn’t go in with this thought in my head of “I’m gonna do the social medias and be a maven” like some do.

  • DwayneAlicie I hope so! I know it’s a lofty goal and may never be realized in my lifetime, but there are lots of us good guys out there. We just have to tell the right story.

  • edzitron

    belllindsay edzitron LauraPetrolino TV I find kicks you in the junk much, much more quickly. You don’t take long to suffer.

  • edzitron LauraPetrolino Stupid Sex & the City and Samantha Jones.

  • edzitron belllindsay LauraPetrolino Not sure how I lasted 20 years. #ruined

  • edzitron

    belllindsay edzitron ClayMorgan The last I remember was a guy called Ryan who writes about Android apps who LITERALLY SAID pitch him on Twitter. Publicly. I did it because I rise to every challenge, PR or mortal combat or otherwise.

  • You focus on PR for tech and gaming. Is it harder to ‘be real’ when doing PR for more traditional industries?

  • belllindsay edzitron LauraPetrolino When I transitioned to “The Dark Side” after being a reporter, my biggest misconception was that it was going to be easy. Easy in that I’d write a press release, send it out, and BOOM. Instant coverage.

  • edzitron

    DwayneAlicie ginidietrich edzitron Wanna know why I went into PR? Because i got bored of London and I was wholesale lied to about what the job was, because I thought it was all party-planning and hanging out with reporters who wanted to hear about my cool products, because my boss at the time lied and said he had clients like Samsung or whatever. Had anyone told me the truth I’d have probably stayed in England.

  • edzitron DwayneAlicie Wow

  • MattLaCasse belllindsay edzitron LauraPetrolino That’s so funny, Matt! I wonder why you thought that?

  • edzitron DwayneAlicie ginidietrich You could have picked Canada, you know.

  • LauraPetrolino ginidietrich I would SO hire you to plan a party for me.

  • ginidietrich MattLaCasse belllindsay edzitron LauraPetrolino Wait, Matt….did no one send you the “Easy Button” when you joined up? Ah man…I’m sorry!

  • edzitron

    belllindsay Gaming isn’t really my focus anymore, so it’s more tech/b2b/etc. 

    You can “be real” in moderation – there’s only so many reporters you can swear in an email to (not at them) or make particular jokes with. But for the most part most will respond well (if they respond) to something that’s up front and real. I don’t mean this in a cliché “be real, man” way, I mean literally describing the product and why it matters – it does X, it’s good cause Y, you should talk to Z, alright, talk to you later buddy.

  • Eleanor Pierce …that they hate PR people? 😉

  • belllindsay Eleanor Pierce Oh no. We all already know that.

  • belllindsay Eleanor Pierce Man, do they ever. Poor lil flaks.

  • edzitron

    ginidietrich It’s an important metric if you consider the fact that most PR emails are ignored – or at least I’d say 90% of the reporters I meet tell me this, or show me their inbox and do a sort of “Lol what is this” face that makes me sad but also happy because ha ha ha they read my email.

    So, yes, open-rates are important. Unless I’m misunderstanding the question – when you say “reading pane” what do you mean? I use Yesware. It tells me if the person read it, from what domain, etc. I recommend it.

  • Eleanor Pierce belllindsay I only hated certain PR people.

  • edzitron I abhor jargon and business-speak. I’ve read blog posts where I’ve finished and said “I don’t understand a SINGLE word of this!” LOL

  • edzitron If you have a software that tells you whether a person reads it, then I agree. But if it’s just an open rate, it’s misleading. Most email systems will let you see the contents of an email without actually opening – or reading – it and that counts as an open rate.

  • Tell us about your worst PR mistake.

  • belllindsay edzitron In one of my early post-reporter marketing jobs my boss constantly re-wrote what I’d written with more jargon and business speak and I died a little inside every time.

  • edzitron

    ginidietrich edzitron Oh. Maybe I wasn’t clear. Don’t use Outlook read receipts, they suck. Use Yesware, or ToutApp, or Slack maybe (never tried Slack). If you can’t measurably say it was opened then you shouldn’t bother.

  • edzitron Totally agree!

  • Are we ever going to rid the world of terrible pitches? What can we do to help put an end to them? Is public shaming the only answer?

  • edzitron

    belllindsay My worst mistake was a few years ago. A (now) NYT reporter was on Twitter being, well, ornery. Ironically I said something about the NYT doing something wrong – he wasn’t there at the time – and he interjected saying “it’s kind of dumb for a PR person to say X” – I interjected (finding a tweet he’d made about Microsoft not long before) and said “it’s kind of dumb for a reporter to say X.” My memory is hazy, but we basically both did the same thing – jumped to a conclusion and made a rash judgment. He DM’d me to say ‘cease fire’ and I did, but this guy has never answered my emails since.

    And any time that I’ve taken on a client that I wasn’t at least 90% sure I could deliver for. I did it early on. Any time I truly blew it, I handed back money. I still do that to this day if I mess up.

  • I loved the short analogy about Allen Iverson in your book? Can you discuss a little about how you prepare to pitch a publication? How much advance research do you do? Do you role play a little before pitching? Maybe most important, how do you identify the best person to pitch a story to, especially as beats seem to be falling apart?

  • SusynEliseDuris

    I still don’t understand why people spam pitches – and bad ones at that…

  • edzitron

    Eleanor Pierce belllindsay edzitron Yep. That happened to me. And that guy who rewrote it wrote several PR books that said not to do that.

  • SusynEliseDuris Amen.

  • edzitron That’s awesome. I too have *opened mouth inserted foot* once or twice. 😉 It’s a hard lesson to learn, but much needed.

  • SusynEliseDuris

    Ed and I speak the same language on tech PR… 🙂

  • edzitron

    SusynEliseDuris Imagine one of the slave boats from olden times. The middle manager and upper managers have the whip, the lower level PR people – untrained – have the oars. They must row, otherwise the ship does not go (IE: WHERE IS THE RESULTS). They’re not told better. 

    Alternatively they think they’re super smart and just do it because they want to be lazy, in which case I look forward to feasting on their clients.

  • edzitron Eleanor Pierce Arrrgh! Stabs self.

  • Is there any life-changing “eureka” moment piece of information you know now that you wished you would have known in the early stages of your career?

  • SusynEliseDuris

    edzitron You know a lot of the time I think it is fear, people want to throw the spaghetti up on the wall to see what sticks. They want a quick fix. There is no quick fix, secret sauce, golden ticket, magic pill…

  • edzitron

    ClayMorgan I role play only in the sense that I dress as a wizard on weekends and pretend to cast spells at passers-by on the Embarcadero.

    The ‘advance research’ I do is usually constant in that I’m reading constantly. I really recommend just everyone reading. And ‘research’ on a reporter might be as simple as looking for whoever covered something similar (like the Android projector I’m working on). Sometimes it’s months (or years) or following them on Twitter. Sometimes it’s meeting them in person and saying “dude, just…god…tell me what to send you. Please.” Sometimes it’s an email to that effect.

    Identifying the best person to pitch to is sometimes very hard and requires a ton of reading – sometimes it’s just a question of asking someone else you know at the outlet. “Dude, who covers X?” is a powerful weapon in my arsenal. As dumb as that sounds to write.

  • Eleanor Pierce LauraPetrolino ginidietrich Yay! I will totally plan a party for you Ellie! Done!

  • edzitron ClayMorgan Just ask. It’s so simple, and no one does it!

  • edzitron Can you please record this for us?

  • edzitron

    Eleanor Pierce The answer is to publicly shame the AGENCY. Most of the people form pitching I’d put into two categories:
    1) Low level person who doesn’t know better.
    2) Consultant who doesn’t know better.

    The former’s agencies need to be publicly shamed. I could name three off the top of my head that deserve to get tarred and feathered for what they do. There’re some really bad players in tech – and honestly some of the WORLD’S LARGEST AGENCIES FORM PITCH – and there needs to be some sort of public declaration. But even I am not ballsy enough to do that. However I will gladly in private talk smack on them. 

    The low-level consultants I usually just respond with some form of errant troll that they’re not expecting. It never works. I don’t know how to deal with them.

  • edzitron

    SusynEliseDuris edzitron Fear isn’t what it is. Trust me on this, I’ve been there. Unless you’re talking about fear of being fired, in which case totally.

    There’s also pure laziness – hhuhhhhhhhh thought is hard how do I do thought, no, I shall send to 100 people, maybe one will say yes.

  • SusynEliseDuris I remember this young lady at a local PR agency would call me every single month – every single month – and pitch me the same darned story ever single month – usually on my voice mail. And I’d not call her back every single month.

    One day she actually caught me on the phone and I asked why she keeps doing it. There was a pause, and then she whispered, “I don’t have a choice” and hung up.

    Didn’t hear from her again…until the next month.

  • What do you think of platforms like PitchFriendly and others that are aimed at helping business owners do their own PR through a “fill in your news” type of a automation platform?

  • ginidietrich MattLaCasse belllindsay LauraPetrolino Probably because most of the PR’s I dealt with were government entities.

  • ClayMorgan SusynEliseDuris  Oh no! That poor dear.

  • edzitron Eleanor Pierce I’m ballsy enough to do it.

  • MattLaCasse Very interesting!

  • SusynEliseDuris

    edzitron Eleanor Pierce In the entertainment world, agencies who send actors on auditions who behave badly are blacklisted by some casting directors – perhaps journalists consider that with bad agencies/pr consultants? Or maybe this is already the case. These PR folks must learn, and if it’s the hard way, so be it…

  • Eleanor Pierce You were in the South too long

  • edzitron

    sumnerj14 I’d say “read the book” but that’s just chintzy.
    There was no real moment, but one client – Scitable – that came along that I just clicked with. The CEO and I got on really well. I learned with him how to re-describe the entire project as a social network versus ‘a hub’ or the language they were using. We bonded a lot and I started to realise that the reporters I was talking to responded to certain things.

    The secnd is when I got a first-wave e-reader and it was an easy pitch – people wanted it even if you were just a duck that was able to somehow type eight words about it. However that there were component elements that people were interested in (IE: “it was cheaper than the Kindle. It held X amount of books. It was independent. It looked nice.”) and I thought “why would I mention anything other than these things and then “you could play with one”?”. So I suppose that’s as close as I got. It was also the first time I stopped having to struggle with pitching people and getting them to care.

  • SusynEliseDuris

    edzitron Eleanor Pierce I bet I can guess the bad tech pr firms – especially in Silicon Valley…

  • ginidietrich edzitron Eleanor Pierce HOLLA!

  • Is “This is How You Pitch” going to become the next hot new Netflix series…? Young Brit conquers American PR world…?

  • ginidietrich Eleanor Pierce Bless her heart!

  • belllindsay I’d watch it.

  • SusynEliseDuris

    LauraPetrolino  Any experience with the new Publicize? Another one for startup PR.

  • Eleanor Pierce ginidietrich Ugh! Stop!

  • edzitron

    LauraPetrolino Are you talking about PressFriendly? If so I think these platforms are smart, and cool and run by people who generally get it – I’ve met and spoken with Joel from PF a few times and wrote about them on Inc, and I have respect for him. I don’t think they’re the best at pitching but they’re a damn sight better than most. 

    They do try and push the “make a relationship” part a lot – but that’s a LOT harder if you have just one company. Lots of clients = lots of points of contact. 

    PF is also not an automation platform.

    I actually got a call from Greg Gallant from Muckrack yesterday because I canceled my subscription – and that’s a guy who really gets it. I tore him a new one on certain things (I’m a bad person and I am to honest) and he really, really cared about getting it right. When people like that are working on these tools, I’m excited for them.

    I’d recommend against anything that ‘automates’ PR. Anything that streamlines it is good.

  • SusynEliseDuris

    Eleanor Pierce belllindsay Yes, please.

  • Eleanor Pierce LOL

  • SusynEliseDuris Eleanor Pierce belllindsay edzitron TRADEMARKED!!

  • Hi everyone, a little late to the party! Great to join you.

  • If there were just one misconception about media relations you could fix, what would it be?

  • edzitron

    SusynEliseDuris LauraPetrolino No experience but I talked to them yesterday. From what I can tell they’re a very low-fi tech PR agency that’s using startup mechanics to help with launches for very bootstrapped companies. Conrad is a smart guy and knows a lot. I was negative on them first and then talked over email to him for a LONG time about it. He’s a bright, honest person and someone I’m happy to see doing it.

    I don’t see much actual technology in there, though.

  • SusynEliseDuris

    edzitron LauraPetrolino Ha. I canceled my Muck Rack subscription recently too.

  • edzitron

    belllindsay SusynEliseDuris Eleanor Pierce edzitron If someone offered me a Kell On Earth type series, well, I hope they like to see me sitting in my underwear and constantly sighing at the computer. And trying to housetrain my dog.

  • edzitron belllindsay SusynEliseDuris Eleanor Pierce Done. Sold.

  • edzitron belllindsay SusynEliseDuris Eleanor Pierce Sounds a lot like working for Arment Dietrich ….

  • SusynEliseDuris

    edzitron SusynEliseDuris The company pushes for results, they get scared, they do stupid things. I see it in tech. all. the. time…

  • Eleanor Pierce edzitron belllindsay SusynEliseDuris EXACTLY like it, in fact.

  • Is that *really* your phone number on the about page of your website…??

  • edzitron

    Eleanor Pierce Again, which is my worst son? These are all points that address said misconceptions.
    – Reporters are all different people. Young old big small or damaged or with easy lives or from weird or normal cultures or whatever. Living breathing people.
    – Reporters are not empty vessels for your news. 
    – Just because they covered someone like you doesn’t mean they’ll cover you.
    – It’s not their fault if they don’t like your product.
    – Sometimes they may dislike your product and be wrong! Don’t get mad.
    – Reporters are actual human beings with lives and emotions and feelings.

  • edzitron

    belllindsay It’s a heavily-moderated one.

  • edzitron HA! 😉

  • edzitron

    belllindsay edzitron Google Voice. Not that I’d care if people called me directly. I love it when I get pitched still. It’s always really fun knowing that I’ve potentially ruined someone’s day. Okay not quite but you get my drift.

  • edzitron

    biggreenpen Join in. I’m full of horrible words.

  • Ok, so what, exactly do you have against phone calls?

  • edzitron What if a person just wanted to ask you how your day’s going?

  • edzitron

    DwayneAlicie edzitron ginidietrich How would I answer it today? “Because I want to be paid to talk to reporters.” But I run my own firm now so the only person talking to me is going to be in a two-way mirrored police interrogation room.

  • belllindsay edzitron It sounds like they’d get an earful about dog training (and maybe about underpants).

  • SusynEliseDuris

    ginidietrich Eleanor Pierce LOL — about being in the South too long. Southern belle here – Williamsburg, VA

  • Fifteen minutes, folks! Don’t let edzitron rest his digits!

  • I’ve been holding two questions until the sort of end because they have nothing to do with PR. But I’m dying to ask!

    1. Do you really have a sous vide machine?
    2. What’s your issue with having a female Thor?

  • SusynEliseDuris ginidietrich Eleanor Pierce I lived there for almost four years, and though I’m home in Oregon again now, I’m still not swearing as much as I used to.

  • edzitron

    Eleanor Pierce Two things.
    1) Social anxiety. I’m great with people in person. I’m great on email. I hate the phone. I don’t know why, but it makes me anxious. I dread phone calls. Nevertheless my 2) thesis is correct.
    2) If you cold-call a reporter you are interrupting their day with something almost certainly irrelevant or annoying or both. You are forcing them to psychologically dismiss things around them as a phone-call as a much more ‘active’ task that cannot be put off. So essentially you’re forcing yourself on them. 

    If you STILL do this, you are literally going against what I’d say at least 40 reporters have told me.

    I have not made a cold call in 5 years and I get more press than I ever have.

  • edzitron

    belllindsay edzitron I should add that I can stick around longer 🙂

  • SusynEliseDuris

    edzitron belllindsay Ooooh, yes, please…

  • edzitron Eleanor Pierce I hate phones. A lot.

  • edzitron I’m with you. I rarely answered the phone when I was a reporter.

  • edzitron Eleanor Pierce I’ve always said the phone is there for your convenience, not the caller’s. I love the do not disturb button.

  • edzitron

    ginidietrich 1) I have two. An Anova and a Polyscience Professional.

    2) I have no issue with the female thor, and was making jokes about it on Twitter because people are absolutely stunningly stupid if they have an issue with female thor. This is literally a comic book about a man with a giant hammer that can make the weather go around him that lives in a magic golden city in in the clouds called Asgard. Also remember that there was literally a frog Thor ( People are freaking out that a woman is becoming Thor and they are dumb. 

    People are literally angry about this – that Marvel is doing something ‘stupid’ in a universe that involves a man entirely made of metal that just surfs through space WORKING FOR A GIANT MAN THAT EATS PLANETS.

  • edzitron ginidietrich AND they’re killing Archie!

  • belllindsay edzitron I do too! (abhor jargon/bizspeak/corpspeak). It needs to be mitigated. 🙂

  • edzitron

    belllindsay edzitron ginidietrich I do not have any views on the Archie thing other than “well that’s cool that he saved his friend” but I’m not really sure how Archie Comics, the company making the comic Archie, is going to continue with Archie being dead.

  • edzitron LMAO!! That’s an awesome answer.

    Now, on the sous vide machine. I’ve been considering buying one. I do it manually now and it sucks. It’s wort the investment? How often do you use yours?

  • ginidietrich edzitron What the heck does one cook in a sous vide machine?

  • edzitron ginidietrich I just had to google Sous vide machine!

  • LauraPetrolino edzitron belllindsay I don’t know how the two of you can work here and not know this.

  • SusynEliseDuris

    Eleanor Pierce SusynEliseDuris ginidietrich Still swear, but my swear words are more british swear words. Not sure why…

  • ginidietrich LauraPetrolino edzitron belllindsay I’m very ashamed!

  • edzitron

    ginidietrich edzitron It’s worth the investment but you need a good (REALLY GOOD) vacuum otherwise you may as well have just boiled the food. I recommend getting one of vacmaster’s (VP121 I think) – they cost $550 or so. 

    The results are superb. I use mine every day because I cook constantly. It’s also the easiest way to make the highest-quality food I’ve ever made.

  • ginidietrich LauraPetrolino edzitron belllindsay  Gini. You sous vide MANUALLY? Sheezy. When are you cooking dinner for us???

  • ginidietrich LauraPetrolino edzitron belllindsay (I don’t think I verbed that noun correctly, but I do know what sous vide means)

  • edzitron

    FYI everyone – I can stick around longer than the hour if you want to keep asking questions – very much enjoying the conversation.

  • edzitron

    belllindsay ginidietrich edzitron Anything that isn’t baked.

  • Eleanor Pierce LauraPetrolino edzitron belllindsay I do and it’s a huge PITA. Like Ed, I cook constantly and I’m not too shabby at it. But a sous vide machine (and vacuum) would make it a lot easier.

  • edzitron ginidietrich Every day?? What for?

  • edzitron

    ginidietrich Eleanor Pierce LauraPetrolino edzitron belllindsay Get a blowtorch too.

  • edzitron

    Eleanor Pierce edzitron ginidietrich Because I can? Because I like good food?

  • ginidietrich Eleanor Pierce LauraPetrolino edzitron belllindsay I’m a pretty good cook, but I haven’t stepped to that level. I’m not sure I want to …

  • edzitron Eleanor Pierce It really does increase the quality of the food

  • edzitron ginidietrich Eleanor Pierce LauraPetrolino belllindsay See this is why my cooking style is super simple. A blowtorch?!? I am happy when I get through the day without harming myself with a paring knife

  • Eleanor Pierce It’s way easy. Richard Blais has a great cookbook for it.

  • edzitron belllindsay ginidietrich My husband cooks. I just sit and look glamorous.

  • edzitron Oh I have a blowtorch

  • ginidietrich Education! Getting in those PR classes! Remember how you were featured in my PR class? I thought that was a big win for you. And I spread the word about your book, which a couple of my fellow students bought and read!

  • SusynEliseDuris

    edzitron Eleanor Pierce belllindsay oh the do as I say not as I do approach. Hmmm…

  • The last prepared question I have: Why does spin suck?

  • ginidietrich edzitron LauraPetrolino Laura DOES NOT need a blowtorch. TRUST ME.

  • LauraPetrolino edzitron ginidietrich same here …

  • SusynEliseDuris

    I noticed some talk about metrics. What are the key metrics we SHOULD focus on?

  • belllindsay ginidietrich edzitron LauraPetrolino you all know my response to the prospect of Laura cooking w/a blowtorch right? #video

  • edzitron

    Alright as I imagine some people will drop off, though I’m here for answering more questions, I’ll just put down one lesson I learned that everyone should learn. It’s a secret trick that 60% of the time works 100% of the time:
    When you meet a reporter, DO NOT BRING UP YOUR CLIENTS OR WHAT YOU HAVE unless they ask. Literally just talk to them about their day or whatever. Ask them what they want to hear about. If they ask about your clients, then tell them.
    DO NOT PITCH IN PERSON UNLESS ASKED TO. And even then talk about the thing as you would to a bored 16-year-old.

  • edzitron

    ginidietrich Because spin by definition means that you are hiding turds in a cat litter box. Spin – if you take the less evil definition – is really just sandblasting away the nonsense around something and saying “alright here it is, love it or hate it.” Finding the real value is the way around spin.

  • edzitron This also works in networking. Don’t talk about what you do unless asked.

  • edzitron

    ginidietrich edzitron Also works a charm on dating.

  • edzitron Thank you.

  • SusynEliseDuris

    edzitron People forget that you should develop relationships. Build trust first.

  • ginidietrich edzitron People’s eyes glaze over when I talk about what I do.

  • edzitron AND DATING! (I loved dating.)

  • edzitron biggreenpen oh good! That’ll shake up my day a bit.

  • edzitron ginidietrich Yikes! Well, I am glad you’re all about it now! It’s so unfortunate that there are bad eggs who perpetuate the bad story about PR. I’m more of a marketing communications person, and I believe in convergence of all our practice areas. We’re all marketers, really — or at least we have to all think like marketers. As in the four Ps and a relentless focus on segmentation, targeting and positioning.

  • edzitron

    SusynEliseDuris edzitron Stop thinking of it as developing relationships. You’re acquiring people in your life. That person may not write about your things ever, but they’ll be a new person you know.

    One of my oldest friends is a reporter that never wrote about any of my clients.

  • Getting any pushback from PR guru types for your rather vocal take downs of the industry and the old-school practices?

  • edzitron

    SusynEliseDuris Media placements measured in quality by UMVs. And honestly, you’ll know whether something is good. Gizmodo is obviously awesome and great, you don’t need to justify if that’s a good hit. If something is smaller you may have to.

    Results, results, results. Not just a load of “huh well I sorta did these things.” Report honestly – that you had a chat with X, they said Y. If the client is unhappy explain why you’re doing your best and why this is still progress.

  • ginidietrich edzitron Thought they might be just tipsy.

  • SusynEliseDuris

    edzitron SusynEliseDuris I’m not sure I get that unless you are thinking that the term implies you are doing in order to get something later. Marketing is all about developing relationships…

  • edzitron

    belllindsay I should also add the Penn State teacher – my alma mater – who rambled about how bad my advice was on a post syndicated to Ragan. I responded to her by saying “well if I’m so bad then why didn’t PSU teach me better? Do you guys not have any honor or respect for your alma mater? Perhaps you can ask why my teacher won’t respond to my emails saying I’ll gladly come in and teach a class?”
    That was a laugh-riot that ended up with her being very apologetic.

  • belllindsay People’s eyes glaze over in general around you.

  • ginidietrich True.

  • SusynEliseDuris

    edzitron I was looking for key KPIs.

  • edzitron

    SusynEliseDuris edzitron Perhaps you’re missing my point. You have a life outside of your job. Your job can be helped by knowing these people but hey, sometimes your life can be helped by knowing these people. Treating people in networking solely as a potential conduit for success is something that might work but treating it also as an opportunity to meet more people you might care about or enrich your life experience makes everything better.

  • Well, this wraps up the *official* portion of today’s Q&A, edzitron thank you so much – you were awesome! That said, Ed’s going to stick around for a bit if people want to keep chatting, please, be our guests!

  • belllindsay ginidietrich edzitron I just tell people I’m a ninja. It pretty much clears everything up.

  • LauraPetrolino belllindsay ginidietrich edzitron Also true.

  • SusynEliseDuris

    edzitron I think our message is the same – we just tackled it from different directions. 🙂

  • edzitron

    Yep – I’ll be around to answer more questions. If you’re dropping off now, thank you very much for sticking around – it was a genuinely fun chat. If you’re staying, ask anything. Ask me anything. AMA.

  • edzitron

    SusynEliseDuris edzitron yeah. I’ve approached every conversation obviously with the goal of getting coverage, but usually I’m happier if I get a new friend. because I’m lonely. So lonely.

  • edzitron You’re very funny, Ed. I have to fly, but it’s been a real pleasure. Good luck with the dog training/underwear thing. 😉

  • ginidietrich Kind of you to think so. I just don’t think I had an idea of PR beyond media relations, basically. That first year was rough.

  • SusynEliseDuris

    edzitron Thanks for the great insight Ed. I’m in Bay Area, too. Never a dull moment!

  • edzitron thanks a bunch, Ed! Great Q&A.

  • SusynEliseDuris

    ginidietrich edzitron It makes me laugh how people can use the terms “position” and “spin” interchangeably.

  • edzitron

    Failing that you can also hit me on twitter at @edzitron and I’ll try and get to you.

  • SusynEliseDuris It makes me laugh, too. Big difference.

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