"The single greatest complaint by journalists about PR people is lame pitches," says an op-Ed by Jim Sinkinson, Publisher, Bulldog Reporter's Daily Dog enewsletter.
"That means pitches that have nothing to do with the media outlet’s (or journalist’s) mission, pitches that are blatant sales pitches, pitches that are filled with jargon, or pitches that are just plain poorly written. Take a second to review these sins one more time. Are they esoteric? Complex? Do they require an MBA or J-school degree to understand? Uh, no."
I constantly remind readers, prospects and clients that it's a waste of time to see PR pitching as the metaphorical equivalent of dropping leaflets out of an airplane. Not only will you annoy editors and journalists, but you risk burning bridges for your media relations strategy.
Unfortunatley, there's still plenty of bad PR to around, and it's prompted a movement on several blogs, including The Bad Pitch Blog, headquarters for of PR "curmudgeons who are mad as hell and just won’t take it anymore...they’re determined to band together in protest of stupid PR tricks and to expose these practices wherever they surface."
As a former journalist, I have been on the receiving end of this trend. It's annoying to have press releases about topics totally unrelated to anything I've ever written about find their way into my inbox. Why do I (and by extension, any media outlet) get so many bad PR pitches? One word: laziness.
Before you approach a media outlet seeking free media exposure, remember this simple rule. Do your homework. It's easier than ever to learn about any reporter, newspaper, or magazine's overall editoral focus before you approach them. Take the time to learn about the media you pitch your story to by visiting their web sites, reading archives and studying the publications themselves.
Editors get hundreds of press releases and pitch letters each week. They have one job, and it isn't to please everyone sending in a release—it’s to please their readership. Knowing this, you should ask the same question of your press release that editors ask, “Will it interest our readers?”