The Muck Rack blog gathers ‘em, I break ‘em down.
Catch up on past editions: October, September, August
See a three-year quantitative analysis of journalists’ complaints on Twitter here.
He’s actually not far off . . . and it’s not a bad approach to brainstorming pitches
Sometimes I think that PR pitches just come from someone playing with fridge magnets pic.twitter.com/TAYg42GueO
— Felix Salmon (@felixsalmon) November 4, 2021
I’ve been reading Felix for a long time and respect his take on this particular email. Plus it’s funny. 🙂 But this pitch likely resulted from a process for pitch formulation that’s actually quite useful. You make a list of stuff that’s hot in the news or pop culture right now, and a separate list of topics your client can speak to. And then you try to find pairs that make sense.
And even though Felix wasn’t buying it, this pitch was onto something. I have no way of knowing if it’s what prompted this Insider story, but you can see the parallels. I didn’t click past the first page of Google results showing 10+ other stories on the real-life debt crisis and links to Squid Game.
On journalist-complaint-Twitter, you are either too early or too late
Six hours and 46 minutes after Halloween ends… I get my first PR pitch for a holiday spending habits story. pic.twitter.com/brMGMiabax
— Mike Lloyd (@llikemoyd) November 1, 2021
“Too soon!” is the more common take of the “holiday is coming and so are the related pitches” genre (scroll to the fourth item in August’s “Good Lessons” here). And when it comes to culture and not work, I’m like Mike – I wait until Thanksgiving to play Christmas music.
But pitching holiday angles right after Halloween isn’t wrong – it can be wise for PR pros to get ahead of holiday trends to make sure their angles get a look before that type of coverage is all booked up. That is, to avoid this reaction:
I'm getting so many #Thanksgiving #PR pitches this week but all my stories related to the holiday were due a few weeks ago. We're already onto late December-early 2022 (or later) for digital stories, spring '22 or later for print.
— Kelsey Ogletree (@KelseyOgletree) November 2, 2021
Props to Kelsey for making this constructive by actually sharing her deadlines. Dedicated PR pros who didn’t already know will note these and get these timelines right for the next holiday.
Buzzwords that journalists get sick of, November 2021 edition
if I get one more PR pitch email with the word "metaverse" in the subject line…
— Samuel Axon (@samuelaxon) October 27, 2021
I wrote about NFTs once and the PR pitches in my inbox have never been the same since 🙈
— Ashlie Danielle Stevens (@AshlieD_Stevens) November 11, 2021
Used to be CBD – in fact, one of the replies in the thread about NFTs notes “the new CBD.” The only solution necessary here is better targeting. Because LOTS of people are going to be writing about the metaverse and NFTs – just not deputy food editors at Salon like Ashlie.
No matter what I do, I can’t get PR pros to cease leading off their pitches with “Hope You’re Well”
Kind of surprising I haven’t seen any PR pitches like “Hope this email finds you All Too Well”
— Garrett Ross🧣 (@garrett_ross) November 15, 2021
I mean, what more can I do than title the ebook I wrote about the most common journalist gripe-tweets “Hope You’re Well”? Maybe Taylor can help solve this – most things she touches usually turn out better.
Low-hanging fruit when personalizing pitches to freelancers
very weird, as a freelancer, to be told "your readers will love X PR pitch." I write for multiple outlets. which readers are you talking about?
— Megan Burbank (@meganireneb) October 28, 2021
Megan sees through the most common fake-personalization tactic AND suggests an easy antidote, all in one short tweet.
This cracked me up – what were they thinking?
I got a PR pitch and asked a clarifying question about the company being pitched and the response was "what will that information be used for?"
— Scott McGrew (@ScottMcGrew) October 26, 2021
One of the reasons this column exists is so that I can go deeper than knee-jerk reactions and get inside the head of the PR person in question and present what’s likely their defense. But no matter how creative I get, I can’t find any possible justification for this reaction. Maybe it’s a big company or prestigious venture fund (Scott covers Sand Hill Road) and they think they have enough pull to dictate terms of the coverage . . . but not when THEY are the ones asking him for the coverage.
A creative twist on the mail merge complaint tweet
Love a PR pitch that tells me "We're not really trying." pic.twitter.com/LBQMm7H0tP
— Kris Wernowsky (@kriswernowsky) November 17, 2021
This article was originally published on November 23, 2021
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