Does everyone know about HARO—Help A Reporter Out? It’s a free service that matches journalists and sources. Check it out! Today, I read a query that really made me smile. I thought, Wow, this guy knows what he wants and can say it with a sense of humor, too.
Here’s Brandon Mendelson’s query: “Did you ever hear of the kind of person that could sell a bag of … well,? you know, to anyone? That’s who we’re looking to talk to. If you think? you are a pro at sales (and closing the deal), I want to hear from you for? an upcoming article for a large tech media outlet.”
Here’s the part I loved: “Just two ?requests: 1. No calls. 2. Keep your emails brief (no press releases,? epic length poems best reserved for Lit 101, just the facts and how to? reach you.)
Tight deadline as you will probably see this on Monday, so ?please write in asap. Thanks!”
Naturally, I’m curious and would have loved to see the responses mostly because in some ways I’m a huge cynic and too often we just don’t follow directions. I remember a pretty silly exercise in the third grade. Apparently, none of us were following directions and our wonderful teacher, Mrs. Freedman, felt compelled to teach us what turned out to be for this student a very memorable lesson. The handout had about page worth of instructions to do some pretty outlandish things, at least for third graders. You know, sit under your desk and sing your heart out.
What most of us neglected to do, however, was to read the directions, which, of course, instructed us to ignore most of the instructions. It was very fun, so it’s not surprising that I remember this with a smile. Do I always read directions as a result of this lesson? No, but I do try to do as I’m told when it comes to respecting journalists’ boundaries. It’s not easy to be brief, but once you have it down it’s quite liberating—for everyone, I suppose.
So I’m always a little surprised when I get a publicist’s pitch that goes on and on and on, one that really should be reserved for Lit 101.
Even if you think a journalist might not have time to read your brilliant pitch you might actually believe that he or she will review it later. I don’t think that ever, ever happens in real life. So take Brandon’s cue and keep those lengthy pitches where they belong: far away from a journalist’s in-box. Follow Brandon on Twitter . . .