This week we continue our “Five Questions with…” series by speaking with Gwen Moran, award-winning small business expert and writer who contributes to Entrepreneur, FastCompany.com, LifeReimagined.org, and many others. She’s also the founder of Biziversity, which publishes insights about business, money, and life.
In her writing, Gwen covers the topics of entrepreneurship, leadership, management, and marketing, and at CHC, we try to provide her with authors as expert sources in those areas.
Here is what Gwen had to say about business books, pitches, and working with publicists.
1. What’s your biggest publicist pet peeve?
Lately, I’ve had more phone follow-ups on unsolicited pitches in areas I don’t cover. My key areas are entrepreneurship, leadership, management, and marketing. Sometimes, I get more than 100 pitches a day–many completely unrelated to the areas I cover. If everyone followed up by phone, I’d never get any work done. It’s easy to get a sense of the types of stories I write, so it’s a bit frustrating.
2. What gets your attention in a pitch?
Someone who gets that business stories are rarely about the business, but about what the business is doing. It’s very impressive when it’s clear that the publicist has gone the extra mile to understand the client and how what that company is doing is of interest to my audience. Also, pitches with numbers go to the top of the pile. I often hear that a client won’t discuss revenue or sales volume “because it’s a privately held company.” Well, I speak with owners of privately held companies almost every day and many are willing to talk growth. If I don’t have some context, how will I know if we have a story?
3. What causes you to pull a book out of the stack?
I’m an avid reader, so it doesn’t take much for me to pull a book out the stack. But I love books that explore important issues. My friend, Kristin Ohlson, just wrote a terrific book called The Soil Will Save Us, about how paying attention to the earth beneath our feet will be an important factor in mitigating climate change.
4. You’ve worked in promotion and marketing, and for almost a decade, you owned a marketing communications firm. It seems many have made the switch from marketing to journalism–why do you think that is? And how do you think your previous marketing experience has affected the way you respond to pitches?
I understand the position of the person pitching. However, at the same time, it makes it much easier to see who has–and who hasn’t–done their homework.
5. What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
Besides Kris Ohlson’s book, Wally Lamb’s We Are Water. He’s an incredibly gifted writer.