MEDIA PROFILE: Those who play the Fool are often much richer forthe effort

For an outfit run by self-confessed fools, it sure commands its

share of respect. Robin Londner investigates how best to get your pitch

seen by the financial kingdom's favorite court jesters.



While it doesn't much matter to PR people pitching the Motley Fool

empire, it is worth noting that the company spokesperson is named Chris

Hill.



And yes, he does realize that this makes him the Hill on the Fool.



The multimedia personal finance education company, Hill explains,

includes website fool.com, books, speaker appearances and a weekly

column that appears in over 225 newspapers in the US and Canada. A

three-hour syndicated radio venture recently folded, paving the way for

the a new, one-hour, weekend NPR partnership. But the Fool's target

audience, Hill notes, is the same regardless of medium.



"Our target is anyone who's looking to take greater control over their

money," explains Hill. "For some people that involves personal finance

issues like getting rid of credit card debt, buying a car, paying for

school. For others it involves investing issues like how to get the most

out of their 401k plan at work or learning to evaluate companies."



The outlets most open to pitches are the website and radio show. Of the

30 million people the Motley Fool empire reaches each month, 10% come

through the website, according to figures from Jupiter Media Metrix. The

radio show, launched this past weekend, is too new to post audience

figures.



As Motley Fool managing editor, Brian Bauer oversees online and print

content, and coordinates the writing and editing staff. He says PR

people should e-mail pitches to him and he will forward them. The best

pitches, he says, will concern consumer-oriented finance and investing,

actionable financial tips, and interesting and relevant stories about

investing or companies.



"Our site's a little bit unusual," he says. "We're advocates of

individual investors and consumers. Certain things we're against, like

investing in penny stocks or options."



Bauer says the site has cut back news coverage and currently employs

only seven news writers, but still likes to receive pitches on

interesting companies.



"A lot of times, a company has an earnings report and they try to pitch

you on it that day, but we won't cover it that day," says Bauer. "While

we won't use that particular story, it will inform us of an interesting

company or product that we will eventually get back to."



Regular columns, Bauer says, are daily commentary Fool on the Hill and

wrap-up news item The Motley Fool Take. Fool on the Hill may or may not

be driven by hard news, so it can be pitched more creatively than The

Motley Fool Take, which, as a news summary, is restricted to the day's

headlines.



Lydia Rinaldi, associate director of publicity for McGraw Hill's trade

publications division, pitched the site about a year ago and was

surprised at how easy it was to get ink for investing title Dow

40,000.



"With most sites, there's a lot of e-mailing involved," says

Rinaldi.



"But I recall this was a matter of mailing out review copies with the

press materials. There was one or two follow up e-mails, but it was

fairly straightforward."



On the airwaves, the original Fools, company founders David and Tom

Gardner, host the call-in and interview program, which airs on five of

NPR's 644 public radio stations.



The radio show and website share some content, such as The Motley Fool

Take.



Additionally, each radio show includes two newsmaker interviews,

generally CEOs, authors or other people from the business world. Plus, a

human interest interview will highlight an author, celebrity or cultural

icon. Don't pitch penny stock hypesters, get-rich-quick programs, diet

or political books, warns Motley Fool Radio Show producer Mac Greer.

Instead, send a prospective guest's bio, explain why the guest fits the

show, and include samples of the guest's recent work.



Greer says potential guests must be comfortable talking about the

subject that - along with politics and religion - everyone's mother said

never to discuss in polite company: money.



"I'm most open to business stories and/or stories that explore the

relationship people have with their money," explains Greer. "These

interviews seek to demystify the world of business and provide a unique

perspective on a topical story."



Most of all, PR people must not take themselves too seriously when

pitching the Fool. After all, the website says chocolate pudding was an

inspiration for the company, and "FOOL" baseball caps are available for

purchase.



With a pitch tailored to the Motley gang, clients may soon find

themselves in a Fool's paradise.



CONTACT LIST

Motley Fool

Address: 123 N. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

Tel./Fax: (703) 838-FOOL/254-1992

NPR call-in Tel.: 1 (866) NPR-FOOL

E-mail: firstnamelastinitial@fool.com or firstinitiallastname@fool.com

(to be safe, send e-mails to both)

Web: www.fool.com.



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