If you are on Twitter following your favorite journalists, there’s a 99% chance that you have come across a tweet calling out a communications professional for... well... Less than professional behavior. We asked some of our favorite journalists about the frustrating experiences they have encountered when working with publicists and what they can do to improve. Here is what they had to say:
Steven Aquino, Freelance Writer, TechCrunch & AccessibleFM:
My biggest pet peeve is easy. Not being personable. I totally get professionalism, but at the same time, if you’re pitching me something you want coverage on, you have to be friendly and build a rapport. Sending me cookie-cutter pitches won’t endear yourself to me.
William Harris, Editor, Sellbrite:
When I made my first pitch to Entrepreneur, I used the subject line... "Another boring pitch from a mediocre writer :)". This was the response I got back, "What are you thinking with that subject line? I'm not reading your pitch." Whoops. My goal was to get them to chuckle a bit, since I imagine the editors there get a lot of boring pitches from mediocre writers. My subject line was an attempt to get them to see that I was on their side and understood their pain points. I was wrong. Horribly wrong. I should have used the "winky face" - not the "simple smile".
PR reps are complicit with the vendors in obfuscating the message. They write in jargon, often hipster-ish in nature, to make the client/product sound cool or pleasingly mysterious, without coming right out and saying, here's what this thing does, what this company does. I say there's complicity because the vendors take the same approach on their websites. Almost every technology company would be well-served to employ someone, even a part-time contractor, to review their communications for comprehensibility by someone outside the client's ecosystem.
Maria Korolov, Editor & Publisher, Hypergrid Business:
Instead of something like, "I like cheese," I get quotes that say "In the past, I found that, for some people, there is certainly a possibility of enjoyment of dairy-based food products." No human would actually say that. Techies, in particular, often like to add so many caveats that their quotes become both indecipherable and also so general that they are meaningless.
Within the OnePitch community, we emphasize the importance of providing value to your media contacts with relevant and high quality pitching practices. Taking these tips directly from journalists into consideration will not only increase your chance of getting media coverage for your client, but will also help you to develop more genuine relationships with your ideal media contacts.
To get a new relationship started (on a good note), pitch journalists like these HERE.
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