It is my duty as your PR blogger to occasionally expose some of those pesky annoyances I hear about from the people I pitch on a regular basis. I wouldn’t be doing my job here if I didn’t share the reasons they get turned off. Be aware, however, that I make these same mistakes from time to time and am as guilty as the next person. But I try to learn every day. So here goes:
1. Send really long email pitches. I wrote about this a while ago and provided an example based on something I’d recently received. Every time I get a pitch (like for this blog, for instance) and it fills up the screen you can hear me emit sounds like a child might make when faced with a plate full of calves liver. Sometimes the type on the screen gets blurry and I just have to delete right then and there.
2. Keep calling and leaving voice mails until you get a live one on the phone. I know that it’s best to keep searching for these people; they’re on the run after all from a studio maybe back to their cube into a boss’s office maybe and then everyone has to have a break now and then. But I don’t want to be viewed as the pest to be avoided at all costs kind of publicist.
3. Don’t proof your email pitches. Who has time anyway? If you compose a pitch and you’ve misspelled your client’s name (this is especially egregious if it’s someone well known and EVERYONE knows how to spell his or her name) or gotten any of your facts wrong, your email may very never get read. There is nothing wrong or pedestrian about proofing your work.
4. Don’t bother thanking anyone in the media. They’re doing their job, right? Why thank them for that? Because I think they rarely get that kind of attention that’s why. Manners never go out of style. Please and thank you are still universal people pleasing words.
5. Leave extremely long voice mails. Hey, we know how to gab, don’t we? Until you hear that beep the sky is the limit, right. Of course I’m totally wrong. Make it fast and hang up!
6. Use the “highest” priority option on your email program with frequency. I generally never use this option unless it is absolutely necessary. What’s necessary? Well, if you have a client who’s scheduled to be in a TV or radio studio and something has come up, that would probably be a good time to use a little something extra to get someone’s attention.
7. Respond to a Profnet query with something off topic. In other words, if someone writing for Woman’s Day wants to speak to cooking school experts, send the writer a note pitching something completely different. Do so and your emails will forever be relegated to that big, bad place called Spamville.
8. Don’t waste your time trying to understand the magazine, show, newspaper you’re trying to pitch. We’re too busy, right? Look, if you’re too busy to conduct due diligence on the media in which you want to appear, then something is all wrong. When you pitch something that doesn’t belong you’re wasting your time and theirs.
9. Use gimmicks when you pitch. Let’s just stop right there. Forget it. Don’t even consider it.
10. Even a reporter has made it clear that he or she prefers email to phone calls, call anyway. We don’t care what people want, right? Actually, some people in the media have very strict rules about this and when there’s a notation after their names in Bacon’s, for instance, that says very clearly that they prefer emails to phone calls, well, that’s probably true.