App a Matchmaker for Journalists and PR Pros

upitch app

Forget an email or phone call, and a tweet is so 2014. No, the way to connect with a journalist now is to upload your pitch to an app where journalists can scroll through and choose which pitches they want to learn more about.

It’s a new app called UPitch that avoids the overflowing inbox and connects journalists and PR professionals. It’s been billed as Tindr for PR. I first heard about it while listening to the podcast “For Immediate Release.”

Do journalists use this? Seems like it doesn’t eliminate the fire hose of pitches journalists receive, but only redirects it to another platform. And do journalists and PR pros need yet another tool to connect?

Journalists complain about spammy pitches and irrelevant story ideas from public relations folks. And novel-length press releases are filled with so much industry jargon they are deemed unreadable. But will an app solve bad pitches?

Good PR pros know the kinds of stories and topics journalists are looking for and shouldn’t need an app to make it happen. They send targeted pitches and know which journalists to contact….in the most effective way.

I’ll be interested to see what becomes of this…I honestly don’t know that much about it. Could it become an easy way foster the journalist/PR relationship? Maybe…if both parties choose to use it.

We’ll see what happens.


#PRFail: If You Are Doing These Things In Your PR Efforts, You Are Doing It Wrong

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If you are doing these things in your public relation efforts, you are doing it wrong:

Using long words when a short one will do.
We don’t “utilize” something…we use it. A longer, more complicated word slows down the reader and makes them work harder to understand. Make your sentences shorter and strive for a sixth grade reading level. That’s right. Many Americans read at that level, and if you are writing above it, you might lose them.

Starting your press releases (or any communication) with “We are pleased to announce…”
Yawn. Of course you are pleased. But why should anyone else care? Start with a statistic or a story. Refer to a recent news item and make it local. Tell your reader how your news is going to benefit them.

Not using visuals.
Photos, illustrations, graphics, infographics, video. The amount of visual content has skyrocketed in the last five years. Use it to your advantage. Sure, it takes time to create an infographic or snap and upload a photo. It’s worth it though, because it adds another element to your communication and can entice your audience to read more.

Hiring Help is Not a “Tip” For Getting it all Done

My real life: some days there are dirty dishes…everywhere.

In the past two weeks I’ve read two articles with headlines something like “Tips For Getting It All Done and Being in Bed by 9” and “Productivity Hacks for Moms.”

These articles promote spending quality time with their children, while carving out time to exercise, fix healthy meals and get eight hours of sleep. Great! What tips do you have for me?

Oh. Those headlines should have read like this: “How The 1% Gets It Done” and “I’m In Bed by 9 pm Because I Have a Nanny that Cleans and Does Laundry.”

Let me get this straight. Your “tip” is that you pay someone to clean, do laundry and help you “prep for dinner”?

I’m sorry – these are not “tips” or “hacks”  because last I heard the definition of “tip” is “a small but useful piece of practical advice” and a “hack” is “a clever solution to a tricky problem.” Hiring help is neither of these things and something most of us can not do. The majority of families do not have a line item in their budget for chef or nanny.

It’s a bit of a fairy tale, I would say. It’s definitely not my real life.

Fairy tale life:
My nanny watches my children, cleans, and does laundry…while I work.

My real life:
My children are in school all day, so I don’t need childcare. Sometimes my boys have to wear dirty clothes because there’s no clean laundry. If you came to my house you would might see dirty dishes, books, toys, dog hair, crumbs…

Fairy tale life:
Someone comes to my house and preps healthy, organic meals and helps me plan dinner.

My real life:
We eat a lot of scrambled eggs, grilled cheese, frozen stuffed pasta and homemade flatbread pizza. And by homemade, I mean I open the flatbread package, pour pasta sauce on it, top it with pepperoni and cheese and pop it in the oven. We often run out of fresh fruit and vegetables because I don’t make it to the grocery store. I do use the crockpot a lot, so there’s that.

Fairy tale life:
Since I don’t need to cook or clean much, and someone is watching my children, I can go to yoga or hit the gym most days.

My real life:
My alarm is set for 5:15 a.m. so I can exercise. Ask my husband how often I actually do that. If I wait until evening, it doesn’t happen either. I do try and take the dog for at least a 15-minute walk.

Fairy tale life:
I’m in bed by 9 p.m. so I can get a good night’s sleep.

My real life:
Ha ha! That’s a good one…in bed by 9 p.m.

It’s great that you can afford help. In fact, I’m jealous. But next time, call it what it is…and it’s not “tips” or “hacks.” It’s resources, money and fairy tales.