'WSJ' drives Surf Canyon downloads

Who is your client? What are its media goals?

Who is your client? What are its media goals?

Steven Blinn: Surf Canyon is an Oakland, CA-based startup that has created a browser plug-in, which allows you, in essence, to better search through search results in real time. [It's] media goals are to target consumers and drive downloads of [its] software.

Why was The Mossberg Solution such a good target? How did you pitch [Wall Street Journal columnist and editor] Walt Mossberg?

Blinn: Coverage by Mossberg is the Holy Grail for consumer technology companies. Unlike other reporters we contacted, he understood what Surf Canyon was about. We contacted him via e-mail and suggested a face-to-face with Surf Canyon CEO Mark Cramer. [That] went well, but there were no promises about coverage. The two later ran into each other at a conference, and [Mossberg said] that [Cramer] should send a follow-up e-mail.

How did you turn that initial interest from Mossberg into a placement?

Blinn: A few weeks passed, and I got an e-mail from Katie Boehret, [Mossberg's] assistant, who was doing a review of Google SearchWiki and wanted to include Surf Canyon, because it's a similar, but non-competing, product. We e-mailed her everything she needed, including a company backgrounder, specifics on the plug-in, and quotes from [Cramer] on Surf Canyon's future plans.

What was the impact of the hit?

Blinn: Downloads of Surf Canyon's plug-in jumped 40%... after the story ran, and it also triggered interest from other media outlets, including MIT's Technology Review, so the company was really happy with our work.

Name: Steven Blinn, president of BlinnPR (New York)

Placement: The Wall Street Journal's The Mossberg Solution, January 14

Pitch timeline: Four months

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