Be Aware of What’s Happening Out There

Warning: Sometimes you need to be aware of what’s happening out there so you can make good decisions for your publicity and visibility efforts.
 
Recently I did what I call a “wave” for one of my program clients. This is where I build a media list directed toward the client’s perfect target market, create an awesome pitch letter and send it out.
 
We got a lot of response, I am happy to say, which led to a piece in Fast Company and another column opportunity among other “hits”, but I also heard back from a blogger with a very unique proposition. It was an experience I’ve never had before. She wrote me and explained how she had another business venture going and that for a mere $425 dollars she would critique my release and give me feedback as to exactly what media wants in a pitch letter.
 
Ah hem.
 
Now, I have been doing publicity for 18 years and I have pitched thousands of journalists, hosts, producers, bloggers, etc. I wondered how many journalists she has pitched?
 
The answer is none.
 
Her job is that of a blogger. Not a publicist.
 
She is asking me to pay her $425 dollars for HER opinion, not that of all media.
 
I should know.
 
Individuals are different…they have different tastes, perspectives, values, likes and dislikes. The same goes with media professionals. Each one is different and each has different preferences, even when it comes to being pitched. Unbeknownst to her, what she likes (and wants me to pay $425 dollars to find out) are the very points many others don’t like.
 
Now, I’m not really faulting her. I mean, I was a media insider too at one point. I was a radio broadcaster and interviewer and I did my share of sitting on panels at conferences telling PR people how they should and shouldn’t pitch media. As if I knew. (Again, I didn’t have the breadth of experience then that I have now.)
 
When I became a publicist, I realized, “Oh my goodness. People have different personal preferences,” and so I began tracking all of that in my content management software.
 
For example, I know that there’s a radio guy in Philadelphia who wants a short email pitch, followed by a phone call between 9:10 and 10:15 a.m. Eastern time and then he’ll most likely book my client. If I do that, the booking is usually successful.
 
**Take away: If you are looking to book your own media, then you’ll want to pay attention to these preference and track them. It is not a one-size-fits-all-world, no matter how much we would like it to be.
 
My main point in this: You have to watch who is giving you advice. Heaven knows there is plenty of it out there, and a lot of it is bad. You want to make sure that if you’re taking advice from someone, make sure it’s someone who has researched it and has a broad perspective. Not someone who is simply sharing their own experience. Their experience is valid, but you need more than just one viewpoint to make a good decision.