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
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
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
"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
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
"With most sites, there's a lot of e-mailing involved," says
"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
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
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
With a pitch tailored to the Motley gang, clients may soon find
themselves in a Fool's paradise.
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: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
(to be safe, send e-mails to both)