By B.L. Ochman
Dear PR people: please take this quiz before you send out another press release or email pitch. Be sure you know the answers to each of the 26 questions. (The correct answers are below:)
1. Has the print, online or broadcast reporter you are pitching ever covered this topic?
2. Would this pitch or release elicit a response from people who read it? (Other than, “Oh crap, another press release from hell!”)
3. Is this pitch or release bullshit?
4. Would anyone pass along a story on this topic to a friend or colleague?
5. Have you Googled the reporters and bloggers on your list so you know if they’ve already covered your client’s competitor?
6. Have you read your client or competitors’ press releases?
7. Have you checked to see if any blogs specialize in covering this topic? Do you know the angle they take?
8. Can you make the copy shorter?
9. Should you pitch a blogger in the comments on their blog?
10.Can you find the reporter or blogger’s email if you take the time to look?
11. Do you know how the blogger prefers to be pitched?
12. Do you know the name of the blogger’s dog so you can personalize your pitch?
13. Have you read the current posts on the blogger’s blog and can you discuss them so you can personalize your pitch?
14. Do you follow the blogger on Twitter and know what he or she likes to talk about so you can personalize your pitch?
15. Do you know if the blogger is male or female?
16. Should you pitch bloggers on Twitter?
17. Should you tell your client to check into advertising on the publication if you’re really asking for a sales pitch instead of a story?
18. Should you tell the reporter or blogger that you know they will want to cover this story?
19. Should you tell the reporter or blogger that they should “support your client’s brand?” (also see question 17)
20. Should you send a follow up email saying “I just want to follow up on the pitch I sent you last week,” and not include the pitch in the email, assuming that your email was the most important one the reporter or blogger read last week and that he/she remembers every word?
21. Should you send weekly emails with “content for your blog” without checking to see if the blogger ever uses guest posts?
22. Should you pretend you’re not a publicist?
23. Should you have a phone number in your pitch in case the blogger or reporter actually wants to speak to you?
24. Should you send bloggers infographics containing huge ads for your company?
25. Should you send links to content that the blogger has to register to view?
26. Should you read The Cluetrain Manifesto before you send out another pitch or write another press release?
Answers: 1.Yes; 2.Yes; 3.No; 4.Yes; 5.Yes; 6.Yes; 7.Yes; 8.Yes; 9.No; 10.Yes; 11.Yes; 12.Yes; 13.Yes; 14. Yes; 15.No; 16.No; 17.Yes; 18.No; 19.No; 20.No; 21.No; 22.No; 23.Yes; 24.No; 25.No; 26.Yes.
– Toby Bloomberg: Extreme DIY Social Media Media Blogger Relations Training For PR/Ad Agencies
– The Blogess
– 6 ways to avoid blogger outreach failure
– A perfect example of how not to do PR
– PR Pitch from Hell
– This is the world’s worst PR pitch
If PR people did only #5, which is Googling reporters, they might uncover a treasurer trove of information like who else the journalist writes for, if they blog, their likes and dislikes, what topics they’ve covered, where you can follow them on social media sites, etc.
Love this quiz, BL!
Thanks Joan. I’m constantly amazed at the low level at which so much of PR operates. There are so many resources at publicists’ fingertips that there simply is no excuse for not doing research about who you’re pitching.
Terrific list. I would like to have it as a poster for the wall.
Not one of the research tasks is difficult, they just take a bit of time. If you can’t be bothered to spend a little effort learning about the writer and their ‘art’, why on earth should they waste their time with you or your ‘art’.
I agree with Joan Stewart on #5…Google for gold.