Evelyn Tipacti

    • Member Type(s): Content Publisher
      Communications Professional
      Media - Freelancer
      Media - Broadcast
      Media - Print Journalist
      Media - Student Journalist
      Media - Web-only/Blogger
      Media - Other
    • Title:Community Editor
    • Organization:ProfNet Connect (PR Newswire)
    • Area of Expertise:Media Relations, Hispanic Media

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    Spotlight: Rachel Weingarten, Lifestyle Writer, Columnist, Author

    Thursday, August 21, 2014, 12:47 PM [Spotlight]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Welcome to our SPOTLIGHT feature, where we highlight a journalist and ProfNet user to share their personal story and insight with you.

    This SPOTLIGHT belongs to Rachel Weingarten, an internationally recognized lifestyle writer, style columnist and award-winning author. She’s a prolific freelance writer and weekly style columnist for Parade.com, and opinion columnist for NYC’s most widely read daily newspaper amNewYork. Please read more about Rachel below.

    We hope you find SPOTLIGHT both enjoyable and informative.

    Have you always wanted to be a writer? 

    Haven't we all? ;) I've learned a lot from my interesting career trajectory which included stints as a celebrity makeup artist to founding the first low-fat mini muffin company approved by the FDA. I've taken the skills that I've learned and found a way to pull them all together in my writing.

    What was your first professional writing job?

    I started answering this question several times in several different ways. It occurs to me that there's no one way to be a professional writer these days. So while my magazine writing started under a pseudonym, my copywriting /speechwriting/ghostwriting started when I was still part of the corporate world. Content creation would be way back in the dawn of the internet when I was creating and launching some of the earliest online magazines for designers and cosmetics companies.

    What type of stories do you cover?

    I used to use the tagline "Style is my business," but I feel that I've expanded beyond that. Then I'd sometimes describe myself as writing about "Business and style and the business of style" which opens things up to the business world and business of fashion and beauty. I like to think that I cover all aspects of style, from what you wear to what you say, to where you travel, the things you choose to consume and surround yourself with. I love pop culture and trends and breaking them down to figure out how to help my readers feel more in tune to evolving and emerging trends. So in a nutshell - I'm a style writer with a very elastic description of the word style. I love covering consumer issues, shopping, gifts, the kinds of things that people splurge on. In this way I can advise them on what's hype and what might we a worthwhile investment.

    Can you tell me what a typical day is like in the life of a freelance writer?

    There is no typical day. And just when I think I've got a routine going - it changes. I guess the closest I could tell you is the guy they'd show in old movies who would be at some sort of carnival and spinning dozens of plates at one time. That's the typical day. Brainstorming stories. Reading through the latest releases. Noticing something in my neighborhood or grocery store or various social media feeds and wondering if this is part of a larger trend and then thinking about how to pitch my various editors a story about it. Interviewing sources. Distilling my notes. Answering feedback from my readers.

    I love the fact that no matter which publications I write for, my readers feel that they can write to me for further clarification, need for more information or even with questions. I get so many emails with questions about what to buy or wear for a special occasion. Advice needed on everything from fragrance to home decor. Writing stories. Revising stories. Analyzing my most popular pieces and trying to figure out how to keep on top of my game. Bemoaning the publications in the world that find it acceptable to underpay writers. Taking notes on every conceivable surface and texting myself thoughts at all hours. And then trying to sleep and remembering that I have about 83 emails that I still haven't answered. Oh. And sometimes just trying to write essays for the pleasure of it all.

    What's the biggest misconception people have about freelancing?

    That it's a breezy venture where you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and that that's all it is. I'm a business person whose stock in trade happens to be feature stories. I'm my own boss, but I also have many bosses to answer to in the form of editors and publishers.

    What advice do you have for PR professionals who want to pitch you a story?

    Take a minute or two to actually read something I've written recently. I get so many pitches from PR people who read something I wrote a few years back and pitch very specific stories based on my former columns or business needs. Don't try to cram or reform the same pitch that you've pitched every single other person in your address book. It really helps if you can give me an angle that might work for my particular audience.

    What should they always do and never do?

    Contact me in the way that I've mentioned that I prefer. I hate being phone stalked by publicists who have tracked my phone number down somehow. I'm fine chatting if we already have a relationship, but please don't call me numerous times if we've never worked together previously. There is no one definitive way to interact with a writer. So taking the time (when possible, we know you're busy too!) to get to know the foibles and quirks of writers will mean that the overall experience will be so much smoother.

    What's the best way for someone in PR to start a working relationship with you?

    Send me an introduction email. Feel free to pitch me a client or product or ask about the stories I'm working on. Bear in mind that I get hundreds of emails each week with similar pitches, so while I might be swamped, I really do try to respond.

    Do you have advice for members who respond to ProfNet queries?

    Read my request. You'd be amazed at how many PR people will zero in on a single word and then pitch on a topic that has absolutely nothing to do with me or anything I've ever written about.

    Or worse, they'll pitch completely off topic and try to bring in the most tenuous connection to what I truly seek. Also, I have a specific email address that I've set up for ProfNet, so I know if you've been mining the queries for email addresses. Don't add me to your distribution list just because you can. If I work with a publicist I'll give her my work email or personal email thereby ensuring that I have earlier and easier access to future pitches. And whatever you do, please don't send me a link to an article that's been written about the person you're pitching or a link to their website and tell me to read through for more info. I can easily search on my own, my hope is to connect with experts or resources I might not otherwise have had access to or known about.

    What type of experts do you prefer to work with?

    I love quirky people. Anyone who has an interesting background or story or product or niche. I'm not enamored with the blanket message. I love interviewing people who aren't so smooth that they tell the same story to everyone they speak with. I'd rather build a rapport and learn about what makes you or your knowledge or product unique.

    What has been the most difficult assignment to cover?

    I was recently asked by The Guardian to write an editorial about women and money  as part of their Money + Feminism series. I'd been reading a lot about how younger women have rejected the notion of feminism and I find it by turns depressing and anachronistic. Without strong women paving the way for us, we wouldn't be able to make our voices heard professionally. It was hard for me to be dispassionate about the subject and try to present a logical and practical reason to understand and embrace an ongoing conversation about evolving feminism.  bit.ly/rcwguardian

    How do you use social media as part of your job?

    I both love and hate social media. I keep tapped into the pulse of popular topics from TV shows to snack foods and also try to gauge the authenticity of trends. I love sourcing quotes and resources as well. And then there's the shameless self promotion aspect!

    What's your advice for someone thinking of going into freelance writing and also for someone who's just starting out in the business?

    I think you have to really know your strengths and weaknesses. If you're a great writer but poor with time management, it won't work for you. If you have a super thin skin you'll have a hard time dealing with potential rejection from editors and outlets. And please, whatever you do, don't accept jobs that don't pay you or underpay you. There's been a horrible downward spiral for far too long in the industry with major players undervaluing skilled writers by either refusing to pay writers or offering them crumbs instead of payment worthy of their talents. New writers are made to believe that it's worth trading their integrity and talents for exposure. It isn't.

    Are you currently working on something other than your daily assignments?

    Yes! My new book Ancient Prayer: Channeling Your Faith 365 Days of the Year will be published by Fall River Press in September and available exclusively at Barnes and Noble stores and online at BN.com. I am so proud of that book. It tapped into the wisdom of the ages and tries to offer advice for dealing with day to day life. I'm trying to write some related essays, set up appearances and partnerships and events.

    I'm also trying to plan my book party and would love to connect with potential partners or sponsors for events, readings and more.

    More here:ancientprayerbook.com/

    And you can pre-order here bit.ly/AncientPrayer www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ancient-prayer-...

    It's such a gorgeous book. I'm so proud of it!

    Have you ever thought of doing something other than freelance writing? 

    I do! I lead workshops and teach about personal branding and cosmetics and fragrance marketing on the graduate level. I also am a pretty popular public speaker and lead workshops on subjects including business etiquette, communication and personal branding. If I had the head for it or could afford to though, I'd probably go to culinary school. I've taken some classes at ICE and it's transformed the way I interact with food and food preparation. I was always a great cook, but I'd love to become a vegan chef. Either that or starting a non-profit. I'm always finding causes near to my heart and wish I could commit a chunk of change to something I truly believe in.

    What do you do in your free time?

    I'm an avid crafter (my mother opened up a crafts/yarn shop when I was only two) so I'm always crocheting or needle pointing and want to start painting again. I also love traveling and rediscovering my neighborhood and city. I'm a native Brooklynite and I vow that this will be the year that I finally finish my first mystery in what I hope will be a series set in and around my 'hood, The Real Brooklyn Girl mysteries.

    About Rachel Weingarten

    Rachel Weingarten writes mostly about beauty, fashion, style, business, travel, luxury, spa, marketing, pop culture and trends and frequently dabbles in topics that aren’t as easily defined.

    Rachel is the author of written three non-fiction books. In addition to Ancient Prayer: Channeling Your Faith 365 Days of the Year, she’s the author of Career and Corporate Cool (An Entrepreneur magazine pick for book of the year & CareerBuilder pick for most interesting career book of the year) and Hello Gorgeous! Beauty Products in America ’40s-’60s which will hopefully be reissued later this year (A NY Public Library book of the year/book for the teen age). She’s also ghostwritten a handful of other best sellers.

    Rachel has written for top media outlets including CNN Digital, Esquire.com, Forbes Life, Fortune, Fortune Small Business, Four Seasons, Men’s Health, Newsday, Crain’s New York Business, Newsday, The Guardian, USA Today, USA Weekend and many others. She also created and acted as the on-air talent for a show on CNN about women entrepreneurs called Enterprising Women. Rachel leads personal branding workshops at NYU, has lectured about the history of the beauty industry at FIT and created business etiquette & style workshops for Fortune 100 companies.

    You can find Rachel here:

    Facebook: www.facebook.com/RachelWeingarten

    Twitter: @rachelcw

    Email: hi@byrachel.com


    Mompreneurs, Education Blogs, Building a Strong Network: Top Blogs

    Monday, August 18, 2014, 1:48 PM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    ProfNet Connect has a wide array of great articles each month and today we're highlighting the top posts for August so far. Take a look, enjoy and why not try writing one yourself? You could find your post on our next list!

    Keeping up With the Mompreneur Movement (Polina Opelbaum)

    In our mini-blog series about mompreneurs, we introduced mompreneurs, discussed the marketing done by mompreneurs, and are now ending it with some final suggestions from six mompreneurs. These mompreneurs share their experiences and expertise on the best way to balance being a mom and business owner, the future of the mompreneur movement, as well as any final tips they want to share with moms running or looking to run a business.

    Grammar Hammer: Every Day I’m Hustlin’… (Cathy Spicer)

    A suggestion from a loyal reader (thanks, Cal!) is the subject of this week’s post. Is it “everyday” (one word) or “every day” (two words)? I’m also an admitted music geek, so I’m always inspired by song titles.

    Both of these words refer to something that occurs on a daily basis. The best way to determine which word to use is always the context in which the word will be used.

    Blog Profiles: Education Blogs (Christine Cube)

    It’s back-to-school time.

    I was scrolling through Facebook when it occurred to me that all of my parent friends, teachers, and school administrators are preparing to return to their classrooms.

    So in this spirit, I dug into the massive world of education blogs and found some great sites. I also stumbled upon an immense universe known as Edublogs, an education blogging service powering more than 2.4 million Edublogs since 2005.

    Say what?

    Patient Engagement: The Future of Healthcare Communications (Polina Opelbaum)

    Business Development Institute (BDI) hosted an event about how leading healthcare brands are planning for the future including integrating big data, digital, mobile and social for innovative communications that improve patient outcomes. The event was moderated by Steve Etzler, CEO/founder of BDI. Here are the seven panels and highlights from each panel:

    MEDIAware: This Week's Media News & Updates (Kevin Frey)

    MEDIAware, PR Newswire’s Audience Research Department weekly newsletter, features recent media changes in the industry. PR Newswire Agility members receive addition contact/outlet information for being members of our Agility community.

    ProfNet Success Story: Crystal Cooper, Porter Novelli  (Angela Smith)

    I recently caught up with ProfNet member, Crystal Cooper, a senior account executive at public relations firm, Porter Novelli.

    She told me how she continues to gain media exposure for her clients using ProfNet.

    Want To Be On The Winning Team? 5 Lessons From Fantasy Football (Alexa Manocchio)

    With football season right around the corner and fantasy football on the minds of many pigskin enthusiasts, it’s a great time to take a look at what we can learn from this virtual gridiron to end up on the winning team.

    Cooper Makes an Impression in Times Square (Angela Smith)

    Congratulations to ProfNet member Crystal Cooper who was featured in Times Square as part of our Facebook promotion! Cooper, a senior account executive at public relations firm, Porter Novelli, shared her success stories on our Facebook page as part of our monthly promotion.

    Upcoming #ConnectChat: How to Build a Strong Network (Polina Opelbaum)

    Now more than ever, it is important to know how to connect with professional contacts. The challenge lies in how you build these strong networks. Social media plays a huge role in people meeting each other and forming professional relationships. Yet, it is equally as important to know how to form professional relationships offline and without the use of technology. Lisa Chau, social media strategist and PR and marketing consultant, will explain what and how to use social media when forming connections. Chau will also discuss the importance of not focusing all your efforts on social media when networking.

    Media 411: Journalists Battle First Amendment Violations (Evelyn Tipacti)

    The behavior of the police in Ferguson, Missouri towards the media has been alarming. According to journalists at the scene, police detained and arrested them without justifiable cause and have also assaulted them by throwing tear gas canisters in their direction. Reporters have been told to stop recording and equipment has been tampered with.

    Media 411: Journalists Battle First Amendment Violations

    Friday, August 15, 2014, 10:51 AM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    The behavior of the police in Ferguson, Missouri towards the media has been alarming. According to journalists at the scene, police detained and arrested them without justifiable cause and have also assaulted them by throwing tear gas canisters in their direction. Reporters have been told to stop recording and equipment has been tampered with.

    The shooting death of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson has resulted in violent protests and has attracted media from all over the country. This is an important national story that warrants coverage but journalists are being forcibly censored in violation of the first amendment which protects freedom of the press.

    No matter the event or the reasons for journalists being at a certain location, journalists have the right to cover a story. It is an outrage that journalists after identifying themselves as members of the press have been told to stop recording and have been arrested for – well, for what?

    Wesley Lowery, a reporter with the Washington Post shares his experience in Ferguson here.

    An Al Jazeera America crew had a tear gas canister land directly in front of them and a local TV station was approached by police with guns pointed at them. An account of that event can be read here.

    The police have treated journalists the same way they do criminals. Reporters have the right to cover protests, to write about them and to record images. The ones who are committing the crime here are the officers. Once you identify yourself as media or as a member of the press, you are to be left to do your job as a reporter and to tell your account of what you are witnessing to the masses. It is a first amendment right.

    Several media associations have made statements regarding the events that took place and their words apply to every situation where journalists gather to report on current events. Poynter has shared these statements from the National Press Photographers Association, Al Jazeera, the American Society of News Editors, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the Radio Television Digital News Association, Huffington Post and The Washington Post in a post from Thursday.

    When the press is physically assaulted for doing something they have every right to do especially after announcing themselves as ‘press,’ we have a huge problem. The authorities have no right to physically assault or detain a journalist without cause.  This cannot happen again. 

    Photo courtesy of bing.

    Media 411: How Journalists Can Avoid Conflicts of Interest

    Thursday, August 7, 2014, 3:51 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Journalists are human, obviously, making them fallible like everyone else. The difference is that their jobs as journalists require them to be more careful with the decisions they make while covering events, the time they spend with certain people and even the places they go on a night out with the family.

    Some situations are more obvious than others and sometimes you may do something which at the moment seems harmless only to realize maybe it wasn’t the best thing to do, best place to go, etc. It’s happened to most of us.

    They key to protecting yourself is being aware of what a conflict of interest really is and what it means for you as a member of the media. What I’ve shared with you below will hopefully answer any questions you may have or help teach you about avoiding tricky situations.

    Six Ways Journalists Can Avoid Conflicts of Interest (About.com)

    Guidelines for Avoiding Conflict of Interest (RTDNA)

    NPR Ethics Handbook

    The Pulitzer Center Ethics and Standards Policy

    Journalists face conflicts of interest too (The SPJ Generation J Committee Blog)

    Media Ethics (The Writing Lab, Purdue University)

    Pressures on Journalists (The News Manual)

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com

    Photo Courtesy: Bing

    Media 411: Prepared Newsroom Leaders

    Friday, August 1, 2014, 12:50 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Media 411: Prepared Newsroom Leaders Being a leader is hardly an easy job and whether you are working as a news director or in any type of leadership position in a newsroom, you are expected to handle whatever comes your way in a professional manner.

    Many newsroom leaders are journalists who climbed up the ladder without any leadership training and although good journalists, may not be adequately prepared for being in charge of a staff and a news product. This makes the job difficult not just for the new leader, but also for those who have to report to them.

    The list below includes some of the best articles I’ve found that give excellent advice if you’re in a leadership position or are about to start one. The key to doing well is being prepared.

    Newsroom Leadership (RTDNA)

    ‘It will take passion’: A benediction for tomorrow’s newsroom leaders (Poynter)

    Newsroom leader: Feedback ‘starts with being open to change’ (Reynolds Journalism Institute)

    Why Many Journalists Make Poor Newsroom Leaders (And Ways to Make Them Better) (American Journalism Review)

    Former Seattle Times Executive Editor David Boardman on the evolving role of the editor (World News Publishing Focus) 

    Media 411: Buzzfeed's Best Media Lists

    Friday, July 25, 2014, 2:29 PM [Media 411]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Buzzfeed lists are everywhere, bringing fits of laughter to all who read them and admire their wit and cleverness.

    The ones most humorous are the ones to which we can relate so I'm sharing Buzzfeed's most hilarious lists associated with media and journalism.

    You're almost sure to find yourself in at least one of these.


    31 Undeniable Truths That Journalism Majors Can All Agree On

    22 Things Journalists Know To Be True

    How You Think NPR Reporters Look Vs. How They Actually Do

    This Reporter’s Reaction To Team USA’s Goal Against Ghana Is Perfection

    21 Incredibly Important Social Media Proverbs

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com

    Best of Spotlight: PR Tips from Media Pros

    Monday, July 21, 2014, 8:28 AM [Spotlight]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Our Spotlight series focuses on journalists and delves into their lives as reporters, writers, and editors. This week instead of highlighting one particular member of the media, I’m taking some of their best quotes to help those who work in PR better understand what journalists need from them and therefore create a relationship that works for both.

    What advice do you have for PR professionals who want to pitch you?

    “I would suggest knowing what I cover and pitching me experts about an incident as quickly as possible. If a school shooting occurs sadly, I know I will likely need someone who can comment and put that tragedy into context. Getting me someone fast is ideal. Also, when stories aren't breaking, pitching me newsy features is also a good idea.” Yamiche Alcindor, USA Today

    “Develop real connections with journalists.  We get over 1,000 emails a day on average so email pitches get lost often.  Network with the press at professional association gatherings or when you see them out in the community.  Talk to them there even when you don’t have something to pitch. Or pitch right on the crest of the news wave.” Jen Christensen, CNN

    “Yes, I do work with them. My advice is nothing new. It’s simply to know who you’re pitching to. PR people are often essential to getting good sources, but a shotgun approach toward their clients isn’t the best idea. Sending me an email about a new way to lose weight isn’t for our site. Getting a pitch on someone who just wrote a book about how their life went from the gutter to the penthouse may be a good story, but it’s not for CNBC.com. Know what stories are done on the site before you send the idea. If it makes sense for us, we’ll be in touch.” Mark Koba, CNBC

    “There's no need to be pushy, or to follow up with numerous e-mails or phone calls. A good story sells itself. The key info should be in the body of an e-mail - most reporters won't bother opening an e-mail attachment. Try to take the time, if possible, to learn what the reporter covers - so many of the pitches I receive are irrelevant to me either because of the topic or the geography (a college graduation in Vermont? Yeah, uh, I'm not covering). “ Michael Vasquez, The Miami Herald

     What should those who pitch you always do and never do?

    Give me the courtesy of figuring out if I am the person who would be most likely to write about your pitch, or at least preface it by saying “If this isn’t you, who would it be?” Don’t be over-familiar, but also don’t robot me to death with an obvious chain letter that you’re pretending is personal. And don’t presume coverage, like “We’re gonna need a story.” Well, you need to take out an ad then. Do readers need to read your story? That’s the most important thing to me. And please spell my name right. One more thing – don’t make me chase you down about the date of your event/TV episode premiere. If I have to do the research, that annoys me. I get about 150 unsolicited emails a day. I can’t read them all top to bottom before deciding what to do with them.” Leslie Gray Streeter, The Palm Beach Post

    “First, let me say that I’ve dealt with some absolutely fantastic PR people over the years. But I’ve dealt with some duds.

    As for always do—be nice. Seriously. You would think that this is something I wouldn’t have to say, but I have had PR people yell at me or be downright rude. I don’t understand it, but it sometimes happens. If someone says that he/she can help me with a story, then follow through. I’ve also had PR people fall off the face of the earth after I’ve gotten a story assignment—sometimes one that they’ve pitched to me. I know that life happens, so if something comes up, just tell me.

    Never do—don’t lie to me. If you think your client was great for a story and then you realize he/she isn’t, be upfront with me. I have a lot of respect for people who tell me the truth than try to make their clients fit when they really don’t. In fact, I’m more apt to work with that PR person again. And if I say that a story isn’t right for me, please don’t try to convince me otherwise. Doing this--it reminds me of people who yell at folks who don’t speak English because they think that this will somehow make them understand. I know if a story is right for me or not or if I think I can pitch it to a publication.

    Don’t call me unless we’ve had an email exchange first. Some days are crazy, and I’m doing back-to-back interviews for different publications, and unexpected calls can really throw me off. It’s better if we set up a time for talking by phone if that’s necessary.” Michele Wojciechowski, Freelance Writer

    “Don’t include me in your bulk email pitch blasts, unless it’s a topic you genuinely believe I’d be interested in. And if I place a query – urgent or otherwise – on Profnet, don’t respond unless you have an expert source who can address my specific question(s). Again, a huge pet peeve is when I get responses unrelated to my query. I placed a query once for something pet related – I think it was dog behavioral experts. And I couldn’t believe how many responses I had to sift through from PR folks promoting dog collars and dog bones and dog beds for sale. None of which had anything to do with my query about behavior.” James Burnett III, The Boston Globe

    “Don’t argue with someone who says no. Reporters and editors know what their bosses are looking for in a story. If you argue, you’re wasting your time and costing yourself goodwill.

    Don’t pitch a company that doesn’t fit a reporter’s request or query and hope that you’ll get the reporter to write something different. Example: If a reporter is asking for help in finding a company that has had trouble getting a loan, don’t pitch a financial adviser who can give tips about getting loans.

    Always ask, is this a good time? Even if it’s not, the question shows that you know how to work with a reporter or editor. They may even stop what they’re doing and talk with you then, simply because you’ve created some instant goodwill by being sensitive and savvy about their pressures.” Joyce Rosenberg, Associated Press

    What's the best way for someone in PR to start a working relationship with you?

    PR and media -- online, print, whatever -- must work more as a team. The PR people I work best with are the ones who will lend a hand to me and that is how the relationship usually starts. When I ask a question, for instance, and the answer isn’t one that is available, say so. Don’t just ignore it. The honesty, along with the help, can start a great relationship.” Catharine Hamm, Los Angeles Times

    “Be real. If you aren’t sure what kind of stories I’m into, ask me. Or, better yet, ask me to coffee. Also, honor deadlines.” Julie Wernau , The Chicago Tribune

    “There's no scientific way to develop a "relationship" with me. If that's appropriate and in the cards, it will happen organically. That is, if I deal with you repeatedly and consistently, we'll get to know each other. This can happen by a variety of means. I communicate with my local Verizon PR rep, Karen Smith, almost exclusively via Twitter DM. With Marie Domingo, a crack Silicon Valley PR pro, it is almost always via Google Chat within Gmail. It's a fun time because there are so many ways to interact with PR people.” Julio Ojeda-Zapata, St. Paul Pioneer Press

    “I have had great relationships with PR groups throughout my career. Regular contact is great. A PR person who takes the time to understand the stories we do regularly won’t have to blanket us with every release they write. They’ll know what we need. Plus, it’s always helpful when the PR group can easily connect you with a source. Sometimes we’re under deadline or have limited time to get something done. Radio is different. We don’t need an hour interview like print or TV. Very often what we need is the release and a 5 minute interview to get some great sound to use. The best people I’ve worked with have understood all of these things.” Cheryl Simone-Miller, 99.1 WNEW (CBS Radio)

    Do you have advice for members who respond to ProfNet queries? 

    Please don’t linger: I’m usually on a tight deadline and so expediency is best. The deadline in the query is the actual deadline. Also, don’t pitch experts that obviously have nothing to do with the query, or who may provide insight that is tangential at best.” Mark Guarino, The Christian Science Monitor

    “I love, love, love ProfNet because I almost always get what I am looking for, along with a few extraneous responses that I applaud for them just trying, you know? I like when the responses actually pertain to my question, and aren’t just blatant attempts to tie my story to the very specific people the PR professionals represent that obviously have nothing to do with what I’m looking for.” Leslie Gray Streeter, The Palm Beach Post

    “I understand that sometimes there is wiggle room in the way a query is written, but there are times when the response to the request is way out in left field. If, for instance, I ask for an expert on tipping etiquette, I am not interested in the latest tipping calculator. That’s not the question.

    The other thing is this: If you say that an expert can be available to me -- and that’s great and exciting -- don’t then come back and say that no, in fact, he or she is out of pocket for the rest of the week and can I do the interview middle of next week? Making sure that someone is available before the deadline is very helpful.”Catharine Hamm, Los Angeles Times

    “I find it best that responders to my ProfNet requests do so via email, and with the email provide the proposed source’s name, title, affiliation, credentials and phone/email contacts. If your proposed source is up to snuff, I then can follow-up at my leisure.” Darryl E. Owens, The Orlando Sentinel

    Media 411: Avoiding Clichés

    Thursday, July 17, 2014, 3:29 PM [Media 411]
    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    When I was younger and a less experienced writer, I occasionally used clichés to make what I was trying to say easier to understand. Now that I am a more experienced writer (and always learning), I realize they are a lazy way of saying anything at all.

    Clichés in any article make me cringe and make me wonder how they could have gotten past an editor.

    Clichés are also a part of everyday conversation. There's one in particular which always irks the heck out of me -- think outside the box. There's just something about that one which annoys me every time someone says it. I once knew a gentleman who used it at least once per day. I gradually stopped speaking to him.

    Below are ten of the most irritating clichés for me personally, but for an excellent list of clichés you should avoid saying or writing, authonomy provides one of the most extensive lists I've seen. I have it bookmarked.

    1) Think outside the box

    2) Can't have your cake and eat it too

    3) Avoid it like the plague

    4) The best thing since sliced bread

    5) If walls could talk

    6) At the end of the day

    7) With years of experience under my belt

    8) To be honest

    9) Touch base

    10) In the pipeline

    What's your least favorite cliché?

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com

    Media 411: World Cup Fever

    Thursday, July 10, 2014, 3:34 PM [Media 411]
    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    The 2014 FIFA World Cup is bringing soccer fans from all over the country together in bars, living rooms, offices, parks, and even stores that sell big screen televisions. Anywhere there’s a TV, there’s a big probability it’s tuned into the World Cup.

    Soccer fever has been in full swing since June 12 and won’t end until the final match between Germany and Argentina this coming Sunday. Even if you don’t root for either team, you’ll likely watch the war that will end with the strongest team winning the golden cup trophy. The World Cup is one of those events that everyone wants to watch.

    Soccer has gained traction in the United States, a fact supported by Major League Soccer and the success it has had via the support of fans who show up in droves to attend the matches. Even so, soccer is still not considered a “top” sport by many here in America who are confused by the rules or may be turned off by the academy award-winning antics of players who fall or are hit in a way that doesn’t warrant such a dramatic performance.

    But bring on the World Cup and people watch! Even those who know little to absolutely nothing about soccer or what I call ‘futbol’ have the desire to be a part of something special, something fun that takes place every four years. The ratings have been through the roof, especially with Tuesday’s match between Germany and Brazil on ESPN. It was seen by about six and a half million people making it the “highest-rated and most viewed World Cup semifinal in American TV history.” Univision attracted almost six million viewers to “be the top World Cup semifinal ever on the Spanish language network.

    One of the things I cannot grasp is how soccer hasn’t caught on the same way as baseball or basketball. Isn’t soccer a huge part of childhood? Why doesn’t that love stick as kids grow? Being a ‘soccer mom’ is as fleeting as being a player but the term exists because kids play it. When does it stop being popular? It’s somewhat sad to me having grown up in a family and culture that loves the sport. It’s in the blood – it’s a passion and something that brings the family together. It’s probably the most popular sport in the rest of the world! Many times as a kid I'd be studying only to be jolted out of my chair by my Nana's screams which resulted in my bolting out of my room terrified to see why she was so hysterical. It always because her team had either made a goal or missed one.

    Although I love the sport, I also understand that the drama on the field may have a deterrent effect for some. I have to admit I get a kick out of the fake grimaces and falls because it does seem some players are required to take acting classes to play.

    If you haven't already seen it, I'd like to share this funny video with you which shows what life would be like if we reacted to things like soccer players:

    If you haven't seen any of the matches, try giving it a shot during the finals and see why people everywhere are watching it and talking about it. You may find yourself screaming "gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooal" right along with the rest of us.

    #ConnectChat Recap: Insider Tips for Book Promotion

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 2:37 PM [#ConnectChat]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    On Tuesday, July 8, we hosted our latest #ConnectChat, "Insider Tips for Book Promotion" with Sandra Poirier Smith, president of Smith Publicity, an international book marketing company based in Cherry Hill, NJ.

    Sandra discussed the differences between advertising and publicity, the importance of bloggers, specific media outlets interested in books and much more.

    Please follow @ProfNet and @editorev on Twitter for more information on future chats or check back right here on ProfNet Connect for details.

    Can you please tell us about what you do at Smith Publicity?

    Smith Publicity works with authors and publishers to create awareness about their books, author brand and/or expertise. Since 1997, Smith Publicity has promoted thousands of titles from New York Times bestsellers to first time self published authors. I work with authors to help them build strategies to make it as easy as possible for the media to cover them in some way.

    What is the difference between advertising and publicity?

    Advertising is controllable. Authors/publishers control where, when and how often an ad for a book is placed. Publicity is not controllable. The media decides if, when and how a book or author is covered in the news. Advertising is not as credible because consumers know it is paid for by the author or publisher. Publicity is credible because media outlets choose to make the author & book part of the news, good book publicity is priceless.

    What is book publicity?

    Book publicity is using the media as a conduit to create awareness about an author or title.

    What type of media outlets are interested in books?

    Media outlets interested in books range from newspapers, magazines, radio, television, online/blog outlets. .@NPRNews loves authors as does @HuffingtonPost. We've had authors on @TODAYshow, @nytimes and many, many national outlets. Local media is outstanding for authors beginning to build platforms: newspapers, radio, arts magazines/online outlets & TV. Smaller media markets are great ways for authors to begin to build awareness as coverage here often builds to larger media.

    What is the difference in lead time (from interest to placement) with different media types?

    Lead time for authors to try to secure coverage in media varies for different types of media. Lead time for radio, newspaper & online can be instantaneous. We pitch & often hear back same day for interviews opportunities. Magazines often work three to six months in advance of publication, so pitch now for Thanksgiving themed feature stories. Check editorial calendars of magazines to see the topics they will be covering & make you & your book relevant to the theme!

    Do you work with authors who self publish?

    Yes! We've promoted self published authors for 16 years!

    What are some examples of how the media may cover an author?

    Interviews, articles, feature stories, expert commentary, book reviews, excerpts, byline articles, op-ed pieces, etc. Media coverage varies by genre & expertise, often non-fiction experts have unlimited ways to make themselves part of the news. Non-fiction authors are often tapped for months or years for expert commentary especially when breaking news is on their topic.

    Are there specific challenges for self-published authors in terms of getting publicity?

    In years past, yes. But now not as much. If a book is solidly edited, written by a credentialed author, then the media often looks at this rather than the publishing process. For book reviews, however some outlets still only review traditionally published authors.

    Are bloggers important?

    Blogger are important in helping authors create awareness. Bloggers often specialize by genre and have loyal followers!

    When should I start promoting my book to the media?

    If you have galleys then 4 to 6 months, if not, we recommend starting media outreach around when people can buy the book  

    What are some tips regarding what authors should have on their website/blog?

    Author website: about the book, author, book excerpt, media contact page, links to buy the book, NEWSLETTER SIGN up is key. Author blogs are important. Selling autographed books through the website can help improve profitability for authors.

    How should authors use social media for book promotion?

    Try to have an active social media presence. Having a Twitter, Facebook & Google+ page authors can interact w/ potential fans. Updating social media as much as possible is important to growing your following and finding your fan base.

    Is promoting fiction different than non-fiction?

    Promoting fiction and non-fiction books are a bit different. Fiction is often more about the "entertaining" value of a book. For fiction titles, the author's background is important, but not as important as when we are promoting a non-fiction title.

    When promoting non-fiction authors, credentials are key! We need to tell the media why someone should listen to this author. In promoting non-fiction authors, we often are focusing more on the author's experience, credentials, advice than the book. With thousands of book published everyday, we (or the author) needs to differentiate why their book is unique.

    For fiction, it is important to reach the fans of the genre--romance, historical fiction, sci-fi, mystery, for example. For non-fiction, it's more about reaching the target audience interested in the author's expertise, not directly book interest.

    What are some ways I can promote myself (and my book) as an expert?

    Compile a list of media outlets of interest to you, then research contact information. Be brief, specific and lead with why you and your book should be of interest to their audiences. Offer a book for review. Spell outlet's name/contact's name correctly and note any specific stories or features to show this is a tailored "pitch.” Remember media outlets do not care that you wrote a book. They care about how you can add value to their "news."

    If I'm an author and use ProfNet for potential media leads, what tips do you have for authors on how to respond to queries?

    As book publicists, we often get outstanding media placements for our authors using ProfNet leads. Tips include checking and responding to ProfNet queries as soon as possible. When responding to ProfNet leads, be as brief and specific as possible. Do not give a long book synopsis for example. Answer the query as specifically as possible. Don't go off topic! Offer to send additional information. To make it easier for the ProfNet contact to reach you, offer times you're available to talk, contact information website, etc.

    How can byline articles and op-ed pieces help promote books?

    Byline articles are articles experts/authors write related to their expertise or book's topic. Byline articles are "pitched" or offered typically to magazines, newspapers an online outlets for potential publication. Byline articles are 600-900 words long and cannot be too "salesy" or self promotional. If an article is picked up, the author is credited as the writer, typically with a byline including their book's title. Topics of a byline articles include how to, case study with problems/solutions, tips style articles.

    Byline article example for a self published business author we promoted was picked up by @TIME was about how to start a company you could someday sell. Byline articles are outstanding for fiction and non-fiction authors.

    An example of a fiction byline was about a woman who chose not to have children and the social/emotional result. Her novel centered on a main character who chose not to have children. Her article was picked up by dozens of outlets worldwide.

    How does promotion of children's book differentiate from promotion of books for adults?

    When promoting adult books, we are often targeting the potential buyer. When promoting children's books, we’re appealing to book buyers in their lives: parents, grandparents, relatives, teachers.

    What are the promotion pitfalls often suffered/experienced by self-publishers?

    Sometimes because self-published authors wear all hats, when promoting a book, he can become too emotional if passed over. When authors promote their own books, they have to be very business-like or media contacts tend to shy away. We know the book is the author's baby (it should be!), authors who brag too much or uses too many adjectives when interacting with the media can turn people away. Use excerpts from reviews form Amazon or Goodreads. Showcase, in bullet points, who your book is for, what they will get from it and why it is different. Offer review copies!

    I want to write a press release about my book. What should I include (not include)?

    Book press releases should include again what makes your book different! For fiction, clearly state the genre. Even though press releases are usually sent via email, still try to keep to one page. For fiction, state the genre, a little of the story line without giving too much away, add interesting author bio! Add links.

    For non-fiction books be specific in your press releases what will the reader learn, why is the information different. For non-fiction books, the author bio is key! Why should someone invest their time and listen to your advice and information. Submit in the standard press release format (title, subtitle, contact information, paragraph form, author bio, etc. Always include links to website, blog, retail pages, social media, etc. in your book press releases.

    Should I organize a book signing?

    Local book signings can be a great way for authors to introduce their book to potential buyers. Visit chain and independent bookstores, introduce yourself as a local author and ask about book signing options. Bookstores can set up events in a few weeks, some larger stores may take several months.

    For self-published authors, offer to stock the shelves with signed books. Think outside the box for book signing events! Health book can be done at yoga studio...romance at a local lingerie store. Invite your friends, colleagues, neighbors, relatives, mail man. Let the venue know you have local people you are inviting. At a bookstore, have a friend be a greeter directing people to you and your signing. Consider giving a talk related to the book!

    Do you have tips on a robust Amazon listing?

    Make sure the listing has a book cover, look inside, detailed author bio and robust book description. Amazon offers an author page option where on the listing you can click on the author's name for more information. Use this! Include website, blog, media runs, other books etc. in the author section.

    Once a book is available for sale, readers can post reviews about the book. Encourage family, friends and fan to post reviews. If this is a second book, contact past reviews to preview a free copy of your book in exchange for a fair review! Make sure your Amazon listing has your book tagged for the right genre. Some self-published authors shared that they changed these tags to come up in different search results.

    For example romance, historical fiction, paranormal fiction, mystery can apply to the same book. Don't lose out on audiences!

    If anyone has any questions about book publicity, please email us at info@smithpublicity.com.

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at profnet@profnet.com

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