A quick bitch about a slack pitch

Posted on: February 13th, 2009

Today something happened that made me appreciate why journalists loathe PR people who ‘slack pitch’ them.  Let me explain.  This morning I got an email from a PR person who was pitching their client to me for a possible story on the Stellar* blog.

  • Firstly, the email was addressed to the sender with my email BCC’d, so it was a group email.  Immediately I’m thinking:  if you don’t know me, don’t group email (read spam) me.  At least take time to introduce yourself, especially if you’re pitching an idea to me.  Granted sometimes this is not possible, but make those times few and far between and if you have to group email, the pitch better be right on the money.
  • Secondly, the email started like this: ‘Thought this might be a good fit for your blog’. Lazy, lazy, lazy.  Tell me why it’s a good fit.  Explain the connection and angle, don’t just cop out with that kind of statement.
  • Thirdly, after the intro, the sender had done a copy/paste of a section of the press release which consisted of two nonsensical paragraphs about the client which I actually had to read several times to even begin to understand the copy, let alone what the point was.  You’re supposed to be a communications specialist, please try and write copy that makes sense and is grammatically correct (I know we all have the odd slip up).  The PR blurb was then followed by the line: ‘Let me know if you are interested’.

After coming to terms with the epic fail that was this pitch email I was left struggling to understand:

A.  why this was emailed to me, and

B.  how it was possible for someone to read our blog and think this story was relevant?

I was also keen to see who was behind the pitch so I linked to the sender’s blog where I found a post with publicity tips.  The post said that time should be spent creating an angle specific to the media outlet because this would show the journalist that a message has been tailored for them which would, in turn, dramatically increase the likelihood of getting coverage.

Yes indeed.  Perhaps there is a need to revisit this advice.

This, however, was only the beginning for the sender’s website write up contained some pretty impressive claims such as being Australia’s best PR agency along with other unsubstantiated feats. All I can say is that if Australia’s best PR agency is sending slack pitches like the one I received, the industry is in trouble!!

While this is a scary example, I think (hope?) PR professionals are moving away from this kind of approach.  And I’m pretty sure the agencies still standing at the end of this economic crisis will be the ones that think as strategically about their method of media liaison as they do when developing client proposals.

Posted by Renee Creer

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