April 1, 2023

You’re the Boss Blog: How Not to Pitch Your Business in Social Media

On Social Media

Generating revenue along with the buzz.

Using social media correctly is like putting your Rolodex on steroids.

Suddenly, it can be much easier to find people. When it works, the days of gatekeepers blocking your phone calls are a thing of the past. Perhaps the best thing about using social media is that it allows you to communicate with all of your contacts at once through status updates.

But there are some important lessons to learn. For one, you still have to build relationships if you want your communications to move your business forward. And building meaningful relationships in social media can take more effort than meeting people face-to-face.

If it takes three contacts to establish a rapport in person, it probably takes at least seven contacts online — and some strategists suggest that it really takes as many as 21 before the typical online relationship turns transactional. Whatever the number, there are some protocols that need to be understood, especially if you are pitching yourself to media contacts.

As an example, let’s talk about Help a Reporter Out. The Web site, known as HARO, is free for reporters and experts. It also offers a premium service for small-business owners and public relations professionals that lets them pay a monthly fee to receive notifications. If they pay, they get better access to the media opportunities. Journalists post queries for sources for television, print and blog features, and business owners and industry experts check the listings daily for potential opportunities.

The site was founded in 2008, by Peter Shankman. I really like this service. It has helped me find  real gems to feature in stories, but I have also been on the receiving end of some random and unprofessional pitches through this service.

Here’s a suggestion: If a reporter sends out a request on HARO looking for small-business owners who have struggled with social media, and the opening line of your response begins, “I know you are looking for small-business owners who have struggled with social media, but I just want to make you are aware of our new …” Don’t send it! You are wasting the reporter’s time.

Also, please use the HARO system to respond. Public relations people and business owners who manage to get a reporter’s direct e-mail address or office phone number do not score points by going around the system. Using the system helps reporters save time, and Mr. Shankman has gone to the trouble of making the rules quite clear. “We have very simple rules on HARO,” Mr. Shankman said. “Respect the reporter by giving them the information they want, the way they want it. We remove the rule breakers from HARO.”

Here’s another suggestion: do your homework on the kinds of stories a blogger or reporter covers. If you send a pitch and are told that you’ve got the wrong person, please take note for future pitches.  And if you send a pitch and are told that the reporter just isn’t interested, don’t send a second e-mail pleading your case.

Just to show you how bad it can be, here are some real e-mails I have received.

Dear Melinda,

I just launched [name withheld], a company that specializes in helping businesses increase their online presence. We are experts in various forms of online marketing as well as premium Web design. Anyways, I was reaching out for two things:

• Can you leave me a recommendation? I will return the favor!
• Are you or someone you know in need of these type of services?

To Success,
[name withheld]

Are there really people out there who will write a LinkedIn recommendation for someone they have never met or even had an interaction with? If so, I’m not one of them. Here’s another.


Our business, [name withheld], is new to the market and looking for ways to get more followers and broadcast ourselves in the Twitter world.

“[name withheld] is cutting edge video technology, giving small businesses the tools and knowledge necessary to succeed in online marketing. We meet the demand for an affordable, convenient and revolutionary marketing team, while providing support and skyrocketing results. We are different than most companies because of our strong expertise and background in the field and our advanced ability to track the progress and activity of your site within the world of social media. Mostly though, we help train you to get your company on the market, while saving you time and money.”

Would you be able to post a tweet telling your followers to follow @[name withheld] please?

The person who wrote that clearly does not understand anything about how social media works. To summarize, here are my suggestions:

  • Do your homework on the background, interests or writing focus of your targets.
  • Engage your targets first (leave a comment on their blogs, retweet content, send an introductory e-mail, become a follower or fan).
  • Never contact people for help without using their names in the e-mail.
  • Follow instructions.

Article source: http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/07/how-not-to-pitch-your-business-in-social-media/?partner=rss&emc=rss

You’re the Boss Blog: Can Lawyers Be Entrepreneurial?

Today’s Question

What small-business owners think.

To some, the phrase entrepreneurial lawyer may sound like an oxymoron, but we’ve just published an article by Eileen Zimmerman, reporting that more and more lawyers are choosing entrepreneurship over the partner track.

Margie R. Grossberg, a partner at the legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey Africa, said she saw an increasing number of associates choosing to start their own firms. “In the past, associates found if they worked really hard and did the right things, they made partner,” she said. “That’s not necessarily the case anymore — the odds are a lot slimmer and it’s also not as coveted as it once was.” These lawyers want more control over their futures, Ms. Grossberg said, and do not want to wait until they become partner to have meaningful relationships with clients.

The economy is another factor. “There have been thousands of associates laid off because of the recession,” said Eric A. Seeger, a principal at Altman Weil, a legal consultant. “We’re seeing more lawyers out there now taking risks, and that includes going out on their own.”

What advice would you give a lawyer starting a new firm?

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=44ef86546e0f6ac40164008930a4d049