How do I reach out to bloggers and reporters for coverage?: advice from experience

I received an email a couple weeks ago from an entrepreneur who formerly worked for a startup in Philly. He’s with a new startup in another region but asked for quick  advice on reaching out to bloggers and other journalists for coverage.

I shot back three quick thoughts:

  1. First, prove you’re a human being and not a robot. Anyone who receives press interest will at first assume any email is a mass email. Prove it’s not. Say, ‘yo, I saw you wrote about this, so I thought you might be interested in this thing I do.’ And say ‘I think it’s relevant because you seem to write a lot about this.’ Basically, the five minutes of scanning a site will bring you much stronger results, and so the success is worth the extra effort.
  2. Secondly, just make it really freakin’ easy. (a) Don’t get caught up in every nuance of what you think your business is about, give the name and the 5-10 word summation and share a few links. Then, maybe include a bit deeper graf, but not much more. (b) Offer to talk on the phone — they probably won’t want to but it again shows you’re a real person — or answer any questions via email. (c) If there is interest, provide compelling images or photos or video to make publishing online more compelling without any extra effort from the writer. (d) Help promote the thing. If you want it, push the coverage for your own benefit and for the goodwill from the publication you’re pushing.
  3. Thirdly, do do a second follow up about a week later. If no response from there, forget about it.

A small item on a niche blog or an industry site can have great power and be a start, so, in general, do not underestimate the important and influence of smaller, more focused publications online or otherwise.

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Tokyo: Archived Podcasting and Blogging from Junior Year Abroad with NBC

Four years later, I’m finishing this piece of archiving business.

A couple months ago, I announced I had moved my honors thesis to a subdomain of this site for the sake of organization and archiving. Following up on that resolution to make more tidy a rambling online portfolio, I have brought another dated, collection of work of which I am proud under this house.

I spent the better chunk of 2006 in Tokyo video podcasting, writing, traveling and learning on behalf of NBC Universal Digital Studios. Now all of that work can be found at japan.christopherwink.com.

See all the Episodes here and all the Archives here. Go and explore.

A few things interested me from my work in 2006:

  • Short, bad titles — The post headlines were all short and sometimes not even descriptive. I didn’t recognize then the importance.
  • I wrote a lot — I far outpaced all of my fellow castmembers in output, which is great, but I could have made much of the content terser and more straightforward.
  • I actually had comments — On many posts, I had a handful of comments. I haven’t transferred them… yet.
  • I never linked – I didn’t have a single link to a past post.
  • Photo albums, not in posts – Photos and the video episodes were never embedded. This is the one major change I’ve made, by incorporating them.
  • Yes, I called posts ‘blogs’ — But that was 2006. What’s the excuse today?
  • I learned and experienced so damn much — I interacted with an audience and explored and created multimedia, but ultimately, I was just a young kid learning. ..And what a clear stepping stone toward the WDSTL podcast I did while in Western Europe.
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Cancel your meetings: TEDx Midwest talk on on workplace management from Jason Fried

I’m always interested in workflow management. How can I, and the people around me, become more efficient, to get more and better work done in more condensed periods of time.

Real work flow is developed over time and with people whose work ethic you respect. But there are concepts to be had about getting that to work from the start. After moving into office space with Technically Media and working alongside my two colleagues so closely more often than ever before, I have been hunting for new ideas to bring to the process.

I came across a great TED talk from Jason Fried, one of the founders of web development firm 37signals, who was responsible for a great book with simple take aways on best business practices.

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Number of Views:11259

Lead with that iron fist

The best way to get things done is to rule authoritatively. Demand and conquer.

The best way to save money is to cut back, cut back, cut back. Always do more with less.

You can create a trim, powerful, successful, lean and mean and impactful organization.

But what happens when no one wants to work there anymore?

After writing this, I came across a somewhat similar post from Seth Godin, in which he calls for leaders to ask for ‘better’ not for ‘more.’

Number of Views:6619

Technically Media office space, or why I have a flask on my desk

I have a flask (and a typewriter) on my desk . That desk is in new office space, as announced today.

In conjunction with the Technically Philly open data grant project, our Technically Media Inc. parent company has moved into a working office space at Temple University Center City at 1515 Market Street in Philadelphia.

It’s important to note that this office space is specifically for the six-month Technically Philly grant project, and so the office is used for those purposes and is only leased for that time.

It’s also important to note that we at TP take great interest in respecting, honoring and, in some ways, continuing the traditions of the past.

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Number of Views:10738

What is Editorial Strategy: Definitions for Content Strategy and more

I try to keep things simple.

Because there is so much crap out there, I like to think if you can’t describe simply, quickly and tersely what you do, then it’s probably not important.

So, in introducing my work with Technically Media, I kept it simply to that we build audiences, which is something of a tag line of ours.

But there are those in the industry and near to it who are a bit more interested in what exactly we’re proposing.

We’re calling what we do editorial strategy, something of a subset of a growing movement called content strategy, which usually falls under user experience design and differs itself from content marketing.

It’s a concept that pulling with content you create is going to become just as much as a given as pushing with social media you control.

But what the hell does all of that mean?

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Number of Views:29277

Phillymag coverage of William Penn Foundation taking on News Inkubator concept

Illustration by Samuel Rhodes for Phillymag

In this month’s Philadelphia magazine, former CityPaper news editor Jeff Billman covers the forthcoming William Penn Foundation-funded news institute at Temple University and notes its roots in Technically Philly’s News Inkubator pitch:

…Quality journalism costs money to produce; these sites need both enough readers to attract advertisers and somebody to sell them ads. And that’s where the incubator comes into play. Ultimately, it may build upon an elegantly simple proposal pitched (unsuccessfully) last year by local tech blog Technically Philly to the Knight Foundation’s News Challenge: Packaged together, a dozen or more independent sites could offer advertisers hundreds of thousands of visitors, rather than a fraction of that on their own...

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It’s seen as a great compliment that News Inkubator in any way influenced.

Click to enlarge.

Number of Views:11544

Transparencity: Leading a Technically Philly open data grant project

On behalf of Technically Philly, I have started work on a six-month, William Penn Foundation-funded journalism project called Transparencity, covering the open data movement in Philadelphia, as was announced this morning.

Conducted in partnership with the Institute for Public Affairs at Temple University (which is chaired by my college honors thesis adviser), the project’s focus is “toward collaborative projects using technology and journalism to increase the availability and use of actionable government data.”

The support helps bolster existing coverage and allows me to strengthen relationships with new and previously only tenuous sources. Read all about our goals and expectations on the Technically Philly post here.

Those outputs show our work will extend beyond traditional coverage, but, to start, that has been a large part. I’ll update more here on the reporting that I am doing.

The William Penn Foundation is technically funding the nonprofit Institute, which, in serving as our fiduciary agent, is contracting out for-profit Technically Media Inc.’s Technically Philly news site. …Did ya get all that?

Number of Views:11921

Why did you become a journalist?

Zoltan Glass: A Journalist writing in his BMW, Paris 1934 © Science & Society Picture Library, UK

I was asked what it is I actually enjoy about this journalism world, its form and practice.

So I rattled off some answers:

  • I like writing
  • I like telling stories.
  • I like getting a little bit closer to truth.
  • I like focusing on different conversations.
  • I love asking questions and learning.

All of my interest and focus on business has come from these passions, though, entrepreneurship itself has certainly become intertwined, as building your own company is one hell of an education.

Number of Views:21584

Philadelphia Productions kickoff party

Click to enlarge.

Photographer Colin Lenton, whom I came to know during our college newspaper days, and a few of his colleagues have rented out beautiful space in the Frankford neighborhood and have made it into a unique studio space.

This weekend, Philadelphia Productions, what they call themselves, held a great grand opening party.

They had a camera set up that could take portraits with a click of a button and everyone had fun with it. See examples here.

Lenton and I did as well.

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Number of Views:3448