Good lessons from bad PR pitches – October edition

The Muck Rack Blog gathers them, I break them down.

Previous editions: September, August, July

New trend: Journalists surprised that PR people look at their public social media accounts

If you saw both of these tweets you might think it’s bad form to reference journalists’ social media posts or profiles when you reach out to them for the first time. That would be an overreaction. At a high level, most journalists understand that what they post on public social media accounts is going to be viewed by PR people. In fact, many actually appreciate the extra effort to customize your outreach to them. In these cases, it appears that the PR pros went way too heavy on the personal references and didn’t balance that with enough professional substance. As Abbie explains deeper in the thread, journalists don’t write about your idea just because you profess to like the same type of pets they do. However, a deft reference to a shared passion FOLLOWED by a logical transition to what you have to offer can persuade them to read a pitch that would otherwise go overlooked.

That’s not creepy, THIS is creepy

In contrast with my first item, this one is going too far. Just because your email software shows you opens doesn’t mean you reference that openly. If PR people keep this up, then journalists are gonna figure out that they can disable image downloads and that will blow up the tracking pixel that such software uses.

The canary in the coal mine that a buzzword is becoming useless

This is one of the really useful benefits of journalist-tweets: When you see them start to complain about a word or phrase, you know that it’s become “hype” in their mind and is no longer valuable. So drop it from your pitches to preserve credibility.

This journalist just made a big mistake

She thought she was being clear that this was a rant against misguided pitches. But she ruined that by admitting that she still forwards the pitch to the right person. So the bad pitches will keep coming. Give her a few more months, she’ll learn to stop being helpful when PR people don’t do their homework. 🙂

A journalistic treatise against exclamation points

Erik doesn’t know this, but I’ve been trying to support his cause for a while. Not because I personally dislike exclamation points, but because I know many journalists who do. Now you have a handy three-point chart you can show your boss or client when they want you to “pump up” the writing in your tech or finance pitches. (Emotion is still okay for most lifestyle and entertainment outreach.) To your success! (see?)

This one is funny because . . .

. . . Joe runs a newsletter called “SportsTechie.” It doesn’t help to personalize your pitch if the personalization is so lazy that it makes it look like you don’t even care.

No excuses for these

This article was originally published on October 27, 2020

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