Category Archives: Common sense

Tip #193: The play’s the thing

Why go to a trade show if you’re not going to take advantage of peoples’ interest there? Or the possible widespread press attention?

I found out about a cool gadget that was going to be shown at one of this year’s CES ancillary events. I emailed the company asking if they would send the CEO to come on stage with me at the CNET Live video booth to demo the product and discuss the market it’s in.

Three days later, I get this reply:

I am the only person there who will be manning the booth. Everyone else is working around the clock to fill our pre-order list, which is extensive. Thus, I will not be doing demos. We will have a video at the booth showing the machine in operation. I would be glad to talk about [the product], if you would like.

[the CEO]

My advice is this: If you’re going to spend the time and money to go to CES, maybe take some of your people off the shipping desk for a day or two during the heart of the conference so you can go do your CEO duties of getting out and spreading your message.

Especially if, as is the case in this example, you’re running a small company that’s competing with larger, better-established competitors.

I sent the CEO of this company a followup. I asked, “Why are you going to CES?” He responded, “I don’t understand the question.”


Filed under Common sense

Tip #185: I can handle the truth

"As seen in" element on a marketing site. Just graphics, no links. Big mistake.

If, on the marketing site you want me to see, you have “As seen in…” graphics pointing to other coverage you’ve gotten, make sure you link to the coverage you seem to be so proud of. Otherwise, for all I know, the coverage was glancing, negative, or perhaps nonexistent.

But also keep in mind: Tip #49: How not to pitch.

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Filed under Common sense, Lies

Tip #182: The more you write, the less I read

If it can be said in five words, might I suggest that using 87 is overkill?

LIVERMORE, CA and SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ–(Marketwire – Sep 7, 2011) – Addressing retailers’ desire to leverage the power and performance of the latest mobile devices to drive transaction efficiencies, improve operational visibility and in-store customer engagement, Epicor Software Corporation, a global leader in business software solutions for manufacturing, distribution, retail and services organizations, and Global Bay Mobile Technologies, a leading provider of next-generation mobile retail software, have partnered to provide retailers running heritage Epicor® software solutions with an innovative and comprehensive suite of mobile retail applications. (MarketWire)

Via Stuart Dredge on Twitter


Filed under Common sense

Tip #181: Nobody cares about penmanship anymore

Except when you do this.

Here's a tip: Don't have your 6-year-old address envelopes you send press releases in.


Filed under Common sense

Tip #180: Sounds like one thing, is another

As I’ve said before, it’s not good if a person can’t tell how to spell your company when they hear the name. But it’s a lot worse if it clearly sounds like a thing it isn’t. Example: I just saw the demo for GoSteals. At the very least, the CEO should also have bought GhostDeals, which is what I thought the company was called until the slide came up.

Be clear in all things.


Filed under Common sense

Tip #178: Fool me once

This one pains me.

When you say you’re going to do something, like send a review unit, do it.

If you forget you said you were going to send a unit, and you pitch me again a month later, and I remind you of our conversation, and you say, sorry, I’ll really send it this time, then really send it.

If, a month after that, having neither sent the product nor checked in, you pitch me again as if we’ve never spoken, you do not get to say, when I remind you of our first and second conversations, “I requested a sample and am sorry to hear it did not arrive.”

There is no recovery from this.

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Filed under Common sense, Email, Relationships

Tip #175: Save the stalking for Facebook

Just wondering: Did Constant Contact also tell that I opened your email and deleted it already?

Hi Rafe,

I am the PR Coordinator for [[company]]. I was able to see through Constant Contact that you opened my e-mail yesterday (creepy, right?) that contained our newest press release, and I wanted to follow up with you.

Also did it tell you that when I clicked on the URL in your email pitch (before I deleted it), what I got was, “Your search did not return an exact match. Please try another search?”


So, to answer your question: Yes, it’s creepy. I don’t think that’s what you want. Unless you’re pitching a horror film.

Further reading:
Tip #82: Nag
Tip #105: One last check

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Filed under Common sense, Email

Tip #174: Delusions of grandeur

If you say the company you’re pitching will one day be spoken of in the same breaths as major consumer brands, perhaps you want to be sure your company actually makes a consumer product.

Expedia, Amazon, eBay, Monster… soon [[Company]] will be up there with them, as it is changing an industry via the internet with an innovative strategy and proving to be quite successful. [[Company]] is retrieving research from publishers and then deploying the access and usage rights to these published materials to clients in research-intensive industries such as pharmaceutical companies.

Yep. The next Amazon for sure.

Look, I’m not saying that this company doesn’t have a good product or that it is not a fantastic business. But when you pitch, you want to excite the person hearing or reading the pitch with the realistic importance of the company. When you over-promise, you devalue the entire story.

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Filed under Common sense, Email

Tip #173: Modernize your business cards

The back of Bizzy founder Gadi Shamia's business card.

If you’re pitching a mobile product (and who isn’t?), keep in mind that journalists are highly mobile users, too. Make it easy for them to check out whatever it is you’re selling. Put a QR code with a link to the site or the app download on your business card.

More business card tips:


Filed under Common sense, Relationships

Tip #172: The unlisted PR person

If you email me a pitch, include your phone number in the message.

If you don’t want to put a phone number on your email, put it on your Web site.

If you don’t put a phone number on your Web site or your email, I guess you don’t want to talk to the press.

If you don’t want to talk to the press, what are you doing in the PR business?

Your call is very unimportant to us.

See also: Tip #2, Followup immediately

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Filed under Common sense, Phone