But every day, members of the media get hundreds of emails and phone calls from PR professionals looking to get their client featured in their publication or program. Journalists are the public's gatekeepers to information. And nowadays, that includes bloggers as well.
As a PR pro, this presents quite a challenge - how can you make your pitch stand out from the rest? What extra steps can you take to get a mutually beneficial end result - making your client happy AND assisting a journalist on a story?
Well, I can tell you that is surely doesn't involve calling someone a f****** b****.
This week, a PR 'pro' (I use that term loosely) sent a blogger known as The Bloggess a pitch that clearly wasn't a fit for her blog or readers. The pitch was an obvious email blast, a classic tactic used by PR pro's on a time crunch who don't do their homework. At my agency, this is a definite no-no (and rarely results in a quality client placement).
And in this case, the blast also resulted in an unhappy blogger. Clearly annoyed by the PR rep's lack of any knowledge about her blog, The Bloggess sent him a feisty note back, giving him a slap on the wrist and letting him know he wasted her time. In my mind, this was well warranted. It happens to the best of us PR pros from time to time -- you apologize, you thank them for their time and you make a note not to pitch them again. Media have the right to turn down your pitch, especially if the fault is yours.
But this PR rep felt a little differently. So he hit reply all and called the blogger a f****** b****.
Was hitting reply all a mistake? Maybe. (Seriously? Can you not operate an email inbox?) But regardless, he messed up. Big time. So what did he do next? Justify himself even further. What's more, he called PR people the "livelihood of journalists business."
And he's supposed to be the VP of Brand Link Communications. If you haven't yet, you must read The Bloggess' full post here.
As I learned from a media relations seminar I attended with a panel of key Chicago media this year, researching the outlet you're pitching prior to pitching is vital to (1) establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with the media contact and (2) seeing any success with your public relations campaign.
Dear Mr. Brank Link VP, journalists are the PR person's key to success - not the other way around.
Pitching 101: do a little research before you hit send. Sorry, Brand Link - you deserve the bad press on this one.
For more bad pitches, check out the Bad Pitch Blog.