Good lessons from bad PR pitches – November 2021 edition

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

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

“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:

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

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”

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

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?

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


This article was originally published on November 23, 2021

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