Good lessons from bad PR pitches – August 2022 edition

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

Catch up on past editions: July, June, May

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

Too early for pumpkin spice

When I began this project of documenting all journalists’ Twitter complaints about pitches, I never would have guess that pumpkin spice would turn out to be the fourth-most frequently complained-about pitch topic!

3 ways you can mess up targeting your pitches

Build your list based on blind geography

I’m pretty sure the PR pro scrolled down the drop-down list of states on their pitching platform and selected “AL,” assuming it stands for “Alaska,” instead of “AK.” Moral of the story? Don’t rely on pitching platforms to build your list for you anyway.

Ignore beat/title when you build your media list

Andrew covers Congress and the pitch is about a dating app.

Assume that beat/topic is enough while ignoring production model

Let’s say you’ve properly narrowed down your targets to “people who cover consumer tech products.” To get the timing right, you gotta go one step further and break out long-lead print magazine editors – who are very much working on gift guides in August – from digital-only writers, who work on gift ideas later in the year.

When your client insists on pitching location-based news nationwide

No doubt the agency is just working down the list and trying to send localized pitches. This is a good illustration of how news value relies on extremes. With rankings, you wanna focus on the top and the bottom. So in this case probably only the five most expensive and five least expensive states.

Unless your source is a nationally recognized expert, they’re not going to be used for stories about other locales.

This sounds like a travel story and no doubt presents a dilemma to the pitching pro. The client wants lots of coverage but doesn’t have a budget to pay for journalists to visit the destination. So the pitcher has to resort to “if you happen to be in . . .” Obviously that triggers the journalist. A better solution to the dilemma is to pitch the virtues of the destination without the assumption that the journalist has to actually go there to include it in their coverage.

Can’t do a bad-pitch roundup without mail merge issues

An all-new way to mess up mail merges!

Obligatory traditional mail merge fail

This article was originally published on August 25, 2022

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