Good lessons from bad PR pitches – June 2022 edition

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

Catch up on past editions: May, April, March

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

A timeless dilemma

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

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

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

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 . . .

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!

Comically ill-timed out-of-office responders

Finally, a creative approach to mocking mail-merge errors

Obligatory laments about getting too many pitches

This article was originally published on June 28, 2022

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