The Muck Rack blog gathers ‘em, I break ‘em down.
Catch up on past editions: September, August, July
See a three-year quantitative analysis of journalists’ complaints on Twitter here.
Two journalists debate: Are PR people useless, or invaluable?
I take the opposite approach. I love speaking with PR and comms folks, they often do line up interviews with media execs.
If the interview goes smooth (i.e., if I do my job well), it inevitably leads to a direct connection with the exec because they ARE excited to hear from me.
— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) October 19, 2022
Props to a sharp-eyed reader who flagged this fascinating Twitter debate for me. I’ll let Simon and Matthew’s takes speak for themselves, but share an additional observation. The silent factor driving their opposite opinions is something that journalists don’t talk about openly – leverage. Matthew gets that PR people can get him access to executives he otherwise wouldn’t be able to talk to. He even acknowledges that he can strengthen his relationships with PR folk by going through them even when he doesn’t need to.
On the flip side, Simon is frustrated when media entrepreneurs aren’t familiar with his Substack newsletter and podcast, so he prefers to work only with those who are. That’s totally his prerogative. The takeaway for you: Don’t stress when a journalist says he won’t work with PR people. Keep reaching out until you find the ones who recognize the value you deliver to build their own cachet and a network of sources. Those journalists are the ones who recognize that they’ll gain more leverage by working with you.
Don’t overgeneralize these pointed criticisms
Where PR pitches about "quiet quitting" should go pic.twitter.com/nIiS96x3jQ
— 🐺🌕 WenzWolf by Night 🌕🐺 (@johnwenz) October 14, 2022
[In case the link doesn’t load, it’s the dumpster fire gif]
There should be a special super delete button in email for blockchain-related PR pitches.
— Andrew Das (@AndrewDasNYT) October 12, 2022
If you pitch workplace issues or blockchain, you could look at these tweets and get nervous. But take them specifically at face value – they only mean don’t pitch quiet quitting to a science editor (John), and don’t pitch blockchain to a sports editor who focuses on soccer and Olympic sports (Andrew). These gentlemen are fully entitled to those state preferences. Although both issues have lost their novelty, there are still journalists who focus on those relevant fields who will be very much interested if your SMEs have anything new to say about them. Just not science and sports editors.
Helpful journalist’s tip for awareness months
If you are sending Hispanic Heritage Month PR pitches this week, you are just trying to squeeze something in & that does a disservice to your clients.
#1 Pro-tip: Keep a calendar of all awareness days, weeks & months that translate well for your client's product or expertise.
— Brittney Oliver (@Britt_S_O) October 3, 2022
I LOVE LOVE LOVE when journalists don’t merely complain, but recommend the professional behavior they’re asking for. I bet Brittney’s tweet will become a go-to reference for hard-working agency pros whose clients are missing deadlines related to awareness months. Side note – it could be that this particular offending agency didn’t realize that Hispanic Heritage Month starts in mid-September, not the beginning of Oct.
Local means local
The number of PR pitches from out of town/state and that are totally irrelevant to my publication will never not astound me. Everyday.
— Edmond Ortiz (@satscribe) October 5, 2022
Edmund works for Community Impact, which has the word “hyperlocal” in its Twitter bio. Not a huge leap to deduce that you should only send them stuff for the very locale they are reaching. My guess is that agency reps fall into a rut of “national vs. local,” where local comes to mean in their heads, “small markets that aren’t national outlets.” And it’s true – people in Asheville, NC very well could be interested in your brand of coffee mugs. But if there is no tie to Asheville, then Community Impact won’t be covering you.
How to not write quotes
The PR pitch: "New highly compelling security quotes around #CybersecurityAwarenessMonth!"
The quotes: "Cybersecurity is more of a priority than ever for government and industry."
"Cybersecurity is pivotal from any and every perspective." pic.twitter.com/6porH5E6GK
— Danny Palmer (@dannyjpalmer) October 18, 2022
I want to keep this column upbeat and encouraging. But these are too good not to share. If I wanted to make up stereotypically vague and over-hyped quotes, I could not have achieved this greatness. Turning to sympathy, I imagine somebody’s client yelled, “We have to get something out for Cybersecurity Awareness Month!” and this was all the agency team could come up with.
Funny tweet comparing product pitches from 2019 to today’s
PR pitches 2019: HeLlo gorgeous! LiVe your best life with the this new produ..
PR pitches 2022: pic.twitter.com/bLqlVk6tq7
— Christina Colizza (@Ms_Cold_pizza) September 28, 2022
Side note – Christina shares a lot of funny material and seems like a fun person to hang out with. I got way distracted from writing this post by reading her timeline.
Obligatory mail merge fail
My favorite kind of PR pitch is one still with “insert relevant intro” in the text pic.twitter.com/lMqFDeJFgI
— Margy Eckelkamp (@MargyWithAY) September 27, 2022
This article was originally published on October 27, 2022
(I’ll also send you other weekly tips)