More Bad Publicity Pitches

Yes or No Signs

It looks like I hit a nerve with a recent post focused on journalists “outting” people with bad pitches. If you missed it, you can read it here.

Before we continue, I want to underscore the fact that most media folks are very professional and easy to work with regarding interviews. I say this not only because I come from a media background — and still consider myself to be a media insider — but as a publicist who works with many journalists, freelancers, editors, and producers. Some have exhibited bad behavior from time-to-time, but most are lovely people who care about their work and their subjects.

There is a certain percentage, however, who react to annoyances in a very public way. Rather than just dismissing it from their minds, or directly telling the offender why his or her pitch is way off target, they publicly shame them. It’s a practice I do not like.

As mentioned before, I’ve simmered about this for quite some time now and decided that it’s time to share. Not only to let off a little steam but far more importantly, so we can take a lesson from each complaint and learn never to do it ourselves. That, in essence, is the real value behind this obnoxious practice.

Let’s continue.

Media complaint: 

If I had $1 for every PR pitch I get with a dead web link, I’d have about $5 a day #YouHaveOneJob

This complaint is completely legitimate. There really is no excuse for not checking your work and making sure links are not a dead end. It must be done and it only takes a moment. If it’s broken, then it needs to be fixed. Be grateful that you caught it.

Media complaint:

Sometimes you get a PR pitch and it takes everything you have to not send a single “lol” in reply

This one is vague and a little unnerving because he didn’t point out a specific situation but instead made a very generalized comment. It could simply be content to stay in touch with his audience, so any thought that comes to mind will do. That’s possible. Anyway, no one wants an “lol” in return unless, of course, what was said was intended to be funny.

Media complaint:

Personally find the PR pitch, “I see you opened an email from me recently, please engage” as creepy and weird

I find that creepy and weird too, although this might be a complaint more for the tech industry. Is it appropriate for us to know this, and if so, why? Technology is amazing and can be creepy too. The point, in this case, is that we don’t have to SAY this to a media contact. It makes me question the judgment of the sender. It’s just a bad idea.

Media complaint:

Just got a PR pitch from someone who said they “stalked” my insta, complimented the pics of my foster dog i just put up, and congratulated me on my recent move… we need to learn some boundaries people

Haha…boundaries? In this day and age of social media?  I laughed when I read that one. That ship sailed a long time ago. If you publish photos and your own opinions publicly, people are going to read them. I thought this comment was naive.

In fact, I used to speak at conferences on the importance of creating a “public-private self,” which simply means you decide what you will and will not make public and stand by your decisions. People will look. Maybe it’s time to bring that particular talk back again…

As an author or publicist, it’s important to research who we’re going to pitch to, mostly to learn specifically what they cover and their basic attitudes. This is where art comes into play. If you’re pitching someone you don’t know, then you want to use what you know about them in a more sophisticated and subtle way. You get a sense of someone, but to just repeat what you read or saw shows no sophistication whatsoever and really is “stalkerish.”

Media complaint:

Idk if checking people’s Twitter bios is the new standard PR pitch but maybe just maybe don’t ever do this you creeps

Similar to the one above and a bit on the naive side, IMHO. When we create profiles and interact in the public space, others can read it. This is a fact. As publicists and authors, we want to be thoughtful without being thoughtless. No one wants to feel they’re being stalked, so when you reach out after having researched someone, you have to walk that line.

Bottom line:

Keep in mind that when you have a great book and idea, and you approach the appropriate people, you’re going to get coverage. Don’t let media comments like the ones above discourage you from pitching. I’m sharing these posts not to shut anyone down, but rather to use them as learning tools. One of the best ways to get better at what we do is to learn what NOT to do.

To your success!


P.S. Remember: When someone says something negative, sometimes you just have to shake it off.





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