Good lessons from bad PR pitches – April 2021 edition

The Muck Rack blog gathers ‘em, I break ‘em down.

Catch up on past editions: Mar., Feb., Jan.

See a three-year quantitative analysis of journalists’ complaints on Twitter here.

You shouldn’t have alerted us, Andrew

For a while, pitching via Slack (to journalists you have engaged with previously) will be a smart way to “think outside the (email in)box.” But soon Slack, too, will become oversaturated. Watch this column for the day when I see enough journalists complaining about this to call it over.

Don’t follow up same day

Same six hours:

Muck Rack’s State of Journalism survey shows that a full 90 percent of journalists are okay with receiving a follow-up email. But my guess is 0 percent are okay with getting followed up on the same day (unless something is on fire).

Check your replies (why does this need to be emphasized?)

This recurring complaint really surprises me. Must be pitchers blasting long lists and getting lots of auto-replies and not checking each one? There may be a diamond in there, like an NBC News producer who actually wants more info! Or you can at least remove the people who are on medical or maternity leave so you don’t annoy them.

On Mar. 31 and Apr. 1, every pitch should include disclaimer “This is not an April Fools’ joke.” Seriously.

And if it actually IS an April Fools’ joke, don’t pitch it to media – insert shot at Voltswagen here. Put it out through your owned channels, and if it takes off, then pitch your industry media and marketing trades about how you executed a successful April Fools’ prank. Like these guys did.

Holidays that highlight your topic are often the WORST days to pitch your topic

Unless you have the best idea ever, or millions in ad support, you’re going to get lost competing against the people that have those things. Sit it out and find an alternative time element that none of your competitors are thinking about.

Faux customization always backfires

The mood of most local journalists right now, summed up in one tweet

Can’t believe someone actually pitched this to WashPost

Mail merge fail that’s so bad it’s funny

This article was originally published on April 23, 2021

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