The Muck Rack blog gathers ‘em, I break ‘em down.
See a three-year quantitative analysis of journalists’ complaints on Twitter here.
A timeless dilemma
Just received the third chaser on a press release I deleted because it was of no interest – PRs, if we don’t get back to you, there is a reason, and we don’t have time to reply to every one of the thousands of emails we receive. Do not chase! #journorequest
— Jane Knight (@janeeknight) June 16, 2022
Can a PR pro know if a journalist saw and declined their PR pitch if the journalist doesn’t respond? No. Is it practical for a journalist to send “no-thank-yous” to every declined pitch? No. Will we ever find a mutually agreeable resolution to this issue? No. Someday when the oceans have dried up and we are pitching from one space station to another, journalists will still be complaining about too many follow-ups, and we will still be trying to catch their attention.
And here is why
"This is my final follow-up on this matter," started a random PR pitch I got today.
Aggressive since I have no memory of getting any prior emails on this. I guess that's one way to do it. 🤨
— Lydia Wheeler (@WheelerLydia) June 8, 2022
Okay, I certainly accept the possibility that nobody had pitched Lydia before this follow-up email. But it’s more likely that she missed the initial pitch(es) in the giant mass of other pitches she got that week (see “laments” item below) or that her spam filter caught it. As for the language, I don’t love “this matter,” but many PR pros will promise this is the last follow-up in an effort to be kinda nice about the whole thing.
Intention totally good, just got the language totally wrong
This person has gotten to the heart of my deepest-held insecurity as a reporter in order to pitch me! Impressive! pic.twitter.com/IcJtI5DC3G
— Katie Deighton (@DollyDeighton) June 20, 2022
I don’t blame Katie for calling this out. But my heart goes out to the writer, who was probably trying their hardest to demonstrate that they had really combed through Katie’s stuff to ensure that what they were pitching was aligned with her interests AND voice. Unfortunately, this inadvertently backhanded compliment came across like my favorite line from Napoleon Dynamite: “I see you’re drinking one percent. Is that cuz you think you’re fat or something? You could totally drink whole milk, if you wanted to.”
A hype-filled industry becomes less bad
There's tremendous overlap between the NFT world and the lowest-quality PR pitches I have in my inbox.
— Ben Fischer (@BenFischerSBJ) May 27, 2022
A new industry becomes progressively more mature. First it was general journo complaints about all the “crypto” pitches. Then the “blockchain” pitches. And now it’s NFT pitches. Someday soon the hype will subside and the pitches will be more substantive and the critiques more general, like the others in this roundup.
He was probably so surprised Jim answered the phone . . .
This just happened: My work phone rings in newsroom. It's a PR guy. I say: "are you about to really give me a PR pitch on this call?" he stutters a bit and says "maybe." Maybe? Well, he was either looking to pitch me or just calling to say hello. LOL
— Jim Pavia (@jimpavia) June 2, 2022
I wish a journalist would have said this when I was phone pitching. That’s a door swung wide open for some remark like, “I sure am, and I am super confident that you will either love it or have no problem telling me you hate it. Have you heard of . . .?”
Another two bad consequences of blasting generic pitches even when they are good pitches!
It's very frustrating to get pitched on a company I've written about multiple times as if I've never heard of it. Shows a lack of research on the part of the person pitching.
— Mary Ann Azevedo- OOO (@bayareawriter) June 1, 2022
Always fun to get a PR pitch asking me if I’m covering a topic two days after my coverage of it was published.
— John Timmer (@j_timmer) June 8, 2022
Comically ill-timed out-of-office responders
Just received a PR pitch about Robert Kennedy Jr.'s new anti-vax documentary. I replied to say I'm not interested. A minute later, I got an autoreply from the publicist saying: "Thank you for your email. I have retired!"
— Zach Schonfeld (@zzzzaaaacccchhh) June 8, 2022
Got a PR pitch while I was looking at the top of my inbox so replied immediately. Got an instant bounce back with a vacation notice. What’s the point of blasting out a pitch if you’re already on vacation? 😂
— Andrea (@MommyGearest) June 22, 2022
Finally, a creative approach to mocking mail-merge errors
It is embarrassing how long it took me to realize that running a simple search on “Hello [name]” in my inbox allows me to find/deal with a few hundred PR pitches at once.
— Lisa Schmeiser (@lschmeiser) June 2, 2022
Obligatory laments about getting too many pitches
Why don't these stupid useless PR pitches expire?! why do I have to do the labor of deleting 1,300 emails so I can send an actual pitch to my bosses when my inbox is overflowing with more junk mail than an actual 1980s mailbox
— Kate Cagle (@KateCagle) June 6, 2022
At what point should bad PR pitches be considered OFFENSIVE. I mean it starts to feel like it's getting into abusive behavior when it's 5 or more, right? It's like that time in childhood when you tell your sibling "I'm telling mommy."
— Joseph Kapsch (@JosephKapsch) June 3, 2022
I don’t care about how much money your company is making, please stop sending me PR pitches about it
— Katie MacBride (@msmacb) June 13, 2022
This article was originally published on June 28, 2022
(I’ll also send you other weekly tips)