The Muck Rack Blog gathers ‘em, I break ‘em down here, every month.
Read deeper than the venting tweets
Four tweets in this month’s roundup are complaining about getting pitched for holiday gift shopping ideas. That’s the most on any one topic in the same month since all those tweets about insensitive pitches during the COVID outbreak in March.
Just got my first Christmas gift PR pitch of 2020 😐
— Avital Andrews (@avitalb) August 11, 2020
i just got my first stocking stuffer PR pitch of the year, have we not been through enough
— Molly Mirhashem (@mollyshirreen) August 4, 2020
I got a PR pitch to include some random gourmet popcorn in "any holiday gift guides you might be working on" and I have never been more tempted to write back "how fucking dare you"
— Jessica Roy 🦅 (@jessica_roy) August 12, 2020
So the product-pitching pros who are unsure of themselves might see these and go, “Oh, July and August is now too early, I better press pause and wait on my holiday gift pitches.” But that would be an oversimplification.
It’s totally normal and okay to pitch holiday gift ideas in the summer, but only for long-lead print magazines. They are the ones who work 3-4 months in advance.
These holiday pitches found their way to:
The problem is that too many PR pros are passing around these tweets and reading them out of context. When you start seeing magazine editors tweeting that it’s too early, that’s when you adjust.
Until then, these justified tweets highlight this truth:
It’s not a TIMING problem, it’s a TARGETING problem.
(I’ve got no explanation for this one, though):
just received a PR pitch announcing that the "holiday shopping season is upon us"
it's still july, good lord
— kathryn lundstrom (@klundster) July 30, 2020
I agree with this gripe – too may PR pros do this, and it’s ineffective
The truest opening sentence in PR pitch email history:
"My constant follow-up might be irritating, but…"
— Jeff Bogle (@OWTK) August 10, 2020
Don’t get me wrong – follow-up is awesome. For well-targeted pitches, it’s usually the difference between success and failure. But don’t ever use negative-emotion words in your follow-up emails. Other offenders are “pest” or “bother you.” You’re simply putting those feelings into the journalist’s mind and creating a self-fulfilling self-deprecation. If your follow-up is so frequent or forced that you feel compelled to acknowledge something negative, that’s usually a good sign you shouldn’t send it. Instead, consider how helpful you’re being when you have an idea that you know is relevant but your contact likely hasn’t seen it yet. That drives you to use words like “Wanted to make sure you didn’t miss this” or “In case this fell through the cracks.” Entirely different intention.
Doing this doesn’t mean journalists will always love your pitch. But it often prevents them from agreeing with you that you’re an irritating pest.
Also don’t do this
I don’t get why PRs pitch bylined articles to freelancers. Like what am I meant to do with it?😂🤦♂️
— Nicholas Fearn (@nicholasgfearn) August 7, 2020
Nicholas is exactly right. If you’re pitching a byline – AKA contributed article – a freelancer is your worst target. He doesn’t get paid if he doesn’t write the piece himself. So go to the editor with this. Or at least a staffer. But we all know this was likely a blast pitch anyway, which leads me to . . .
A new way to get mail-merge wrong
It wouldn’t be an aggregation of journalist gripe-tweets without a few tweets mocking pitches that start with “Dear [First Name] . . .” But this one is more instructive:
Why do I get the feeling this wasn’t a personalised PR pitch? pic.twitter.com/z6QntY7pwn
— Brianna Travers (@briannatravers) August 12, 2020
You might think your mail-merge fields are working properly, but for some reason the formatting could be off and ruin the pitch. The solution, as always, is to not send blast pitches. But if you’re like, “This time warrants an exception,” then do yourself a favor and send a test email and check it in a couple different email programs (at least Gmail and Outlook), because they sometimes render formatting differently.
If you need more motivation, here are a couple more mail-merge fails:
getting some great PR pitches today pic.twitter.com/tsKd7DDAKy
— Hannah Recht (@hannah_recht) August 11, 2020
who wants a personalized pr pitch anyway?
"I think it would be a great fit for [MediaOutletName]."
— Nancy Han (@nancyhan) August 7, 2020
Hilarious targeting error
When you first see this tweet, you can kinda guess what’s off here:
PR Pitch o' the Day:
Working on any potty training stories?
— George Mannes (@dogbitesmannes) August 6, 2020
But it’s even funnier when you click through to his bio and see who he is:
Editor of AARP The Magazine 😀
This article was originally published on August 24, 2020
(I’ll also send you other weekly tips)