Good lessons from bad PR pitches – September 2021 edition

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

Catch up on past editions: August, July, June

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

A new type of follow-up? This is not recommended

At first I was going to chalk up Marisel’s experience as a one-off result of a poorly managed PR team redundantly pitching the same person. But after digging into James’s thread, I’m getting suspicious that some product PR teams are purposefully using pre-programmed email “drip campaigns” with media contacts. That’s a tactic that can be effective for opt-in email marketing (I have three email sequences that people can opt in for), but it’s a terrible idea for media relations, as evidenced here. BTW, the most useful “PR gripe tweets” from journalists are often those where the journalist cites the helpful publicists in his life (as James does further down) and contrasts the offending behavior with the professionalism they’re used to from others.

Ban this word

I try to be objective in my training and only teach proven best practices, not my personal preferences. An exception – I have banned my clients from writing news release quotes with executives who are “thrilled” to announce something. It’s just. So. Repetitive. It’s lost all meaning and credibility. Everyone does it, all the time. Looks like James agrees.

Blatantly faux personalization

Before reading this tweet, when I taught people the importance of customizing your pitch specifically and sincerely, I used a made-up bad example: “Don’t write ‘I see you write about tech.’ They will immediately know this is a mass email blast.” Well, now I don’t need to use a made-up example. Noting to a book critic that he likes to write about books is a new low. And then mentioning “your show or article” just puts a fork in this pitch’s already meager chances.

To be clear, you may be able to get away – on occasion – with blasting the same pitch to dozens of journalists at the same time. You can’t, however, PRETEND that you are sending it to just one at a time . . . . by writing something individually focused like “I see you have an interest in books.” I still crack up every time I read that.

The topics that annoyed journalists this month

As surely as every August turns to a September every year, some PR pros will commercialize Sept. 11 commemorations.

NFTs crossed the line from “hot trend” to “overdone” a couple months ago, especially for a managing editor like Wendy.

Here we are witness to a rare breed – a merger of the two annoyances of the month to create a conglomerate of distaste.

Maybe someday journalists will sell these images as NFTs


This article was originally published on September 21, 2021

Get Michael’s 5 Winning Subject-Line Formulas and best PR tips each week free!

Articles Right Form

This is the articles sidebar opt-in form and can be accessed under “Appearance” – “Widgets” – “Articles Sidebar”

Would you like to get the next article as soon as it goes live?

(I’ll also send you other weekly tips)

'Count Me In' article subfooter optin

This is in the footer of any articles and can be edited in the "Theme Options" and "Single Blog Form" tab: