Reporters' Top Pet Peeves
It's Burger Week! Combat counterfeit sports-related merchandise! Enjoy a new children's adventure book!
These are just some of the pitches that landed in the inbox of a prominent reporter in New York City over the past week.
The problem: the reporter covers education issues.
"I get a lot of pitches that are sent to me like spam," the feisty reporter said. "They have no idea what I do for a living. They're just sending me a press release about something ridiculous."
That reaction was tame compared to those from other media folks when we made a brief request this past week: Tell us your pet peeves about PR folks.
They did not hold back.
In this newsletter, we share some responses (salty language removed!) and offer a few takeaways. Our hope is that this exercise helps you improve your pitching so that you get the right stories covered by the right reporters at the right outlets.
Here we go...
"My biggest problem with PR people nowadays is that they don't know or don't bother to research who they are pitching to," said one television planner. She noted that her inbox is littered with pitches such as "'I'd like to book an "In-Studio Segment" for your 4 or 5 o'clock show' - which means they don't watch the broadcasts to know we don't do in-studio segments like cooking demos or book authors."
Another television expert added, "[f]or PR people, know your audience. Do some homework. Don't pitch me a Valentine's Day cupcake-baking guest if I host a political talk show."
Takeaway: Watch the shows before you pitch them. Get to know their format and segment preferences.
One television reporter indicated his distaste for "[w]hen people pitch having no clue how we work: 'I'm writing to book a guest on your morning show.' What morning show? For your readers? We are TV. I can go on for hours..."
Another television reporter said that, when pitching her, don't write: "Can we talk about a possible article for your newspaper?"
Takeaway: Know the difference between print, radio, online, and television. Refine pitches for each media type.