HOW TO PITCH: Brian Reich of Fast Company Experts, Etc.

Happy Monday, everyone.  I’m excited to present another Mopwater “How to Pitch” exclusive, this week with Brian Reich a freelance media writer and blogger. Brian is an amazing writer, blogger and author of a few books about media.  The blogosphere has been abuzz of late with talk about how to work with bloggers, and to answer those questions, I will soon be introducing an e-book : the Mopwater Guide to Blogger Relations. Stay tuned for that. In the meantime, here’s how to pitch Brian Reich.

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Mopwater: What is your name, news organization, current city and beat? What types of stories do you write? How long have you been writing on this topic?

BR: My name is Brian Reich.  I am a blogger and freelance writer.  I post daily/regularly on WeMedia.com, Fast Company Experts, and my own blog – ThinkingAboutMedia.com. I contribute to other publications on a freelance basis.  I live in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  My focus is on media, technology, how political and non-profit organizations use technology to community, and similar.  I have been blogging for 5+ years, and writing about these topics for nearly a decade.  My book, Media Rules!: Mastering Today’s Technology To Connect With And Keep Your Audience, was published in December 2007 by Wiley &Sons.

Mopwater: What kind of stories are you most interested in covering, and in what context?

BR: I am most interested in covering the individuals and organizations who are making substantive contributions to our society and/or facing the most significant challenges because of the changing times.  I write a lot about newspapers and the future of media, about nonprofit organizations, how different communities are using technology/the internet, about the opportunity for political organizations to leverage technology to address social issues, etc. Here’s an example of a recent post.

Mopwater: What’s the best pitch you’ve gotten recently and why?

BR: Honestly, I haven’t gotten any good ones lately.  I’ve been really disappointed by how PR professionals try to pitch me, as a blogger.  I get emails that say ‘Dear blogger’ — when my name is clearly listed on my blog, and everywhere else.  The opening line from a recent pitch read “I know you will be interested in this, so I figured you would want to write about.”  I’m not sure where they got that idea from, the topic (foreign policy) is not something I write regularly about.  No attempt was made to try and develop a relationship with me… it was just a blanket email that included a press release and some other background materials.  I ignored/deleted it.

Mopwater: What’s the easiest way to get ignored by you when pitching?

BR:There are a few things that really bother me: 1) Not doing your homework… it doesn’t take much to run a search on me, read my blog, etc.  If you do, you’ll see what I am interested in, what I write about, who I cover, etc.  If you don’t, then your attempt to pitch a subject on me is likely to be unsuccessful.  2) Not using my name, or treating me with respect.  If we haven’t met, calling me Brian is probably not appropriate — say Mr. Reich — or if you use Brian (which, honestly, I don’t mind) at least acknowledge that we haven’t met, not assume we are already best friends.  3) Dumping a lot of material on me — use your initial email to start a conversation with me, establish a connection.  If I show interest, then you can send along the additional information.

Mopwater:
Any other advice for people pitching you?

BR: 1) Remember there is a human being behind every blogger, every writer… we aren’t machines/robots, don’t talk to us that way.  2) If the story you are pitching is boring, isn’t interesting to you pitching, its not going to be interesting to me.  Think long and hard about how to make your pitch interesting so I want to pay attention.  I know PR people are in a tough spot (I have been a PR person myself), they get asked to pitch for clients around things they don’t necessarily believe in.  But that comes across in the pitch and if I sense you are just pitching me, not really passionate about your subject, I”ll tune you right out.

Mopwater: What is your preferred method of contact? Phone, email, your web site, your twitter account, your Facebook?

BR: I don’t have just one – that’s the beauty of today’s communications environment.  I regularly check email, twitter, and Facebook.  I can’t always answer the phone, but I return messages.  My favorite is probably email, because its the easiest to manage and file.  But in the course of a conversation with someone about a subject, for an article or similar, I will probably use all of the ones listed (and more).

To contact me, email brian@echoditto.com, my twitter handle is @brianreich.

Mopwater: Tell us more about you. Who are your favorite journalists? What book are you reading? What are your hobbies and interests outside of journalism? What is your favorite cafe?

BR: I have a few favorite journalists — Adam Nagourney and Virginia Heffernan from the New York Times, Mark Halperin from Time Magazine, Marc Ambinder from the Atlantic Monthly, Chris Anderson from Wired, Roger Angell from the New Yorker, and a whole bunch of independent folks.  I have favorite publications though that I read constantly – Atlantic Monthly, New Yorker, Vanity Fair, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, various regional papers (I grew up in Seattle so I read the Times and PI, I went to Michigan so I read the Free Press from Detroit, etc).  I also listen to NPR a lot, read about 350 blogs, and more.

I’m working on a bunch of books right now, including:

New Rules For the New Economy: 10 Radical Strategies for a Connected World
Barack, Inc
Street Gang  (about Sesame Street)
Change for America: A Progressive Blueprint for the 44th President

And of course my book, Media Rules!

I’m a big sports fan, especially baseball.  I have a 14-month old, so spending a lot of time with him and my wife.

I use Starbucks as my backup office.  I don’t drink coffee, I’m caffeine free – but I like the people watching of Starbucks.

Mopwater: Thanks, Brian. Next week: How To Pitch NPR

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