How to Pitch Stories to Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore


Pete Cashmore of Mashable sat down with me yesterday that SXSW 2010 in Austin, Texas to discuss the rise of Mashable, how the iPad might affect the print publishing industry, CPMs for online display ads, burning the boats, Mashable's future ambitions and more.

00:45 — Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore talks about his online social media guide, which is designed to provide information to those focused on social media marketing, individuals looking to get the most out of tools like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare hands how to use social media tools and services as utilities.

01:36 — Mashable was founded in 2005 by Pete Cashmore at the age of 19 out of his house in Scotland.   Fueled by his interests in the Internet and a hunch that blogging seemed as good a way as any to get started, he decided to launch the site with no real connections to anyone in social media at the time and the belief that he could run by doing.

Since then, Nashville has grown to 20 employees and over 50 writers  who work part-time basis.  But Pete maintains a grounded perspective by spending most of his time out of the social media bubble in his home country, the UK, where he can focus on putting out great content.

02:52 —  Given the doldrums of the ad supported media business, Pete has managed to buck the trend by focusing on delivering niche content to a premium audience, which deliver high CPMs.  As brands look for ways to get people to pay attention to what they're doing on twitter and Facebook, Mashable presents a highly targeted advertising opportunity.

03:22 —  Pete sees the iPad as a potential savior for the print publishing industry. By presenting publishers with a viable, practical alternative to the printed page, mash able CEO Pete Cashmore says that since people are somewhat comfortable paying for content on their mobile phones, he believes that comfort will extend to the iPad. 

“It's essentially a device that lets you package media.  I think it might even break the cycle of people expecting news for free on the web. And I think we might see with devices like the iPad, like the iPhone, that people are used to paying for content.  believes could be channels where people are actually prepared to pay for media,” says Cashmore.

04:15 — In terms of how much a magazine publisher might charge for an iPad subscription, Pete says the numbers vary widely. But his guess is, an annual subscription might go for around $10.

05:46 —  Pete Cashmore discusses what he considers to be a good CPM for online advertising, which is anything over $15 for online display ads and as much as $20 for online video at its.  four publishers with really focused content, he has seen them get as much as $30 per thousand impressions.  Google ad sense, on the other hand, provides much lower CPMs of $1-$2.

06:36 —  There's a cannibalization that needs to take place, says Pete.  We are seeing traditional publishers resist the transition. They're trying to keep the cash cow alive. the written word in print may be more profitable currently that is online, but obviously, there's going to be a transition.

On how the mainstream outlets are doing so far, Pete believes many of the major newspapers and magazines are making the transition to digital quite well. And to those who don't make the leap will disappear by attrition. 08:07 —  Commenting on Marc Andreessen's recent comment that mainstream media outlets need to “burn the boats” Pete says “The rule of cannibalization is you either cannibalize yourself or someone else is going to do it for you.”

08:30 — To drive his point home, Pete talks about how Apple cornered the music industry with iTunes by making it easier to pay for music instead of just suing people. 

Through ease-of-use and accessibility, they become major players in the music business, simply because the music business stayed focused on milking their cash cow, leaving themselves open to cannibalization, which is exactly what Apple did. And now, the same risk exists for print publishers.

Blogs have sprung up, and if print publishers don't make the leap, they too are vulnerable to be cannibalized.  In the tech space, where consumers are early adopters of technology, that cannibalization is well underway. 10:45 —

Pete thinks all media companies should be open to a variety of formats. But Mashable's expertise currently is creating great text. Rather than divert his focus at this point he is steering clear of audio and video. Nevertheless he can foresee approaching those opportunities through media partnerships.

12:16 — Mashable does not currently cover B2B extensively. But an example of a company he believes is serving the interests of B2B marketers is CoTweet, which makes it easy for multiple authors to collaborate on a brand's Twitter account.  

The other area of B2B that Mashable covers are the analytics firms that monitor, measure and evaluate the effectiveness of social media marketing initiatives.

14:16 — In terms of people who Pete associates with social media marketing, he mentions Chris Brogan who speaks about how brands can command and communicate well with audiences.

15:15 — For those interested in having their social media products or services featured in actual, the best way to pitch is by sending e-mail to which is staffed 24/7.  For best results, keep it short and to the point.

Photo by Brian Solis.