Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Less than perfect pitch

Thanks to BoingBoing, I read a cringe-worthy, yet thought-provoking post by Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson squarely aimed at PR people.

In it, he states that he gets too many irrelevant news releases from PR folks who have no idea about what he's looking for. He likens them (us) to unfilterable spam. His solution? Block the PR person's email address.

Then, in his blog, he goes so far as to publish a list of the most recent blocked emails.

Ouch.

Now, I don't believe in publicly humiliating people who are just trying to do their job (ever since WWII, I've been uncomfortable with the notion of a public list). But on reflection, I think he makes a valid point: Don't just blast out news releases willy nilly.

Instead we PR practitioners should try to become 'media junkies' (MSM and social). Avoid pre-packaged media lists (i.e. taking the easy way out). If we want to do our job well, we need to pour over newspapers, magazines, blogs, listen to radio, watch TV. Pay attention to bylines. Get to know a journalist by what he/she covers, what subjects pique their interest, what they're writing about. Read. Watch. Engage. Start building relationships.

Then, when we have a great story, there's a good chance the right person will consider our pitch.
'Sounds crazy, no? But in our little town of Anatevka...'*

If we don't love media, why are we in PR?

Addendum:
Please visit Joel Postman here and here for more on this subject.


*with apologies to Fiddler on the Roof.

1 comment:

charlene said...

Thanks for writing about this, Martin. I guess I liken finding a good pr pitch in a pile of bad ones to that age-old saying -sometimes you gotta kiss a few frogs to find a prince... lol. It would be a shame to paint all us 'flaks' with the same brush, just because a few may have gotten a bit lax on their research.

This cyber-kerfluffle serves to remind us of the pace at which our industry must work, and how far-reaching this forum can be. If this doesn't teach the newcomers to PR about accountability - I don't know what will.