Journalists have been conditioned to expect that when they open an unsolicited email from a PR rep, it will have nothing to do with what they actually cover.
Here’s how bad things have gotten:
Last week I was on a conference call with journalists from Slate, the Washington Post, and Aviation Week. I’m moderating a panel with them at next week’s PR News Media Relations Conference in DC.
I intended to ask them how they want to be pitched, but I’ve done this enough times to know that I needed to make a disclaimer at the beginning. I specified: “Okay, we all already know how important it is to ONLY send you information that’s directly relevant to your beats and your audiences. Aside from that…”
And then I asked each one a question specific to their unique situation.
And each one of them STILL answered by emphasizing how important it is to only send news that’s relevant to them!
You know how your friend needs to vent about a frustration, and you’ve validated that frustration back to her already, but she keeps repeating it? That’s what this phone call was like.
It’s not their fault, it’s our fault as an industry. Most journalists I talk to, rightly or wrongly, expect (but not accept) the fact that PR folk just write generic pitches and send them to every journalist they can find an email address for.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that all you have to do to stand out is not be that bad!
I’m only half-kidding here. Of course, you’re not guaranteed a placement just for sending something that’s actually relevant. But when you do it right, you show up different. And they appreciate it.
And sometimes they even thank you for it:
Boy, do you do your homework!
I liked your pitch email. It resonated with me as far as what I’m interested in, and what our readers want to know.
Nice pitch, best I’ve seen in a while.
In a way, the laziness or ignorance of others becomes an opportunity for you. And the simple fact that you subscribe to these posts and have read this far already shows you’ve got the drive and alignment to earn way more than your share of placements.
Journalists have been conditioned to expect that when they open an unsolicited email from a PR rep, it will have nothing to do with what they actually cover. Here’s why this is good news for you.