Good lessons from bad PR pitches – May 2022 edition

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

Catch up on past editions: April, March, February

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

No whining here – an actionable tip with evidence!

Most journalist tweets about PR are vague laments. Perri not only gets very specific, but she backs up her request with evidence. Sure enough, when you google “best chef knives” and “how to clean your patio,” none of the results on the first page include headshots. It’s all about the product pics. Who am I to question the most viewed journalist on Muck Rack in 2021? Plus I got way distracted by her excellent NYT piece “How Married ‘Bachelor’ Couples Are Making it Work.” That said, I’m going to guess that when you move down your media lists to lower tiers than Perri and the kind of outlets that show up first in search results, some of them may be more open to including headshots.

True for this writer, but not necessarily everyone else

This is obviously true if you’re pitching Kia and her colleagues at Axios or similar outlets. But you have much better chances if you are pitching a widely respected national ranking to, say, local or trade media. Get included in the top ten on Fortune’s Best Companies to Work For or Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies or a similar list, and your local media are covering that, especially if you’re new to the list. Here are some tips on maximizing a big announcement from the PR pro behind a #1 on the Inc. 500 list.

Artful depiction of the enduring tension between journalists and the pitching pros who love them

Props to Matt for taking the journo-complaint tweet to a higher level and recognizing that there is at least some value in being approached by sources. Key learning for PR pros: Most journalists distinguish between “flacks” – their word for PR pros who get in the way – and “sources” – anyone who gives them useful tips, data, insights or quotes. Here are some tips to transition from “flack” to “source” in your target journalists’ minds.

This Twitter convo reveals more nuance in the journalist/PR person dynamic

Click the tweet to read the replies. Props to PR pros Josh and Matthew for prompting Gaby to dig a bit deeper and distinguish between good relationship building and the spray and pray she referenced in her tweet. And kudos to Gaby for sharing these helpful points.

Remember this when considering linking your story to a major holiday

If you’re sending a Mother’s Day pitch to Sarah at the NYTimes, remember that hundreds of others are, too. That’s why I’ve argued that holidays are actually a bad time to pitch, unless you come at the holiday from the opposite angle of what everyone else is offering.

Most creative way to complain about too many Mother’s Day pitches

Check out the replies and see that Devan isn’t the only one.

Obligatory complaints about mail merge fails

This article was originally published on May 31, 2022

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