Gini Dietrich

How to Pitch a Story Like a Pro and Get Results Every Time

By: Gini Dietrich | June 14, 2012 | 
158

Dear PR Pros,

Why must we continue to have this conversation?

Is it because you’re too busy “pitching” to read anything about your industry? Perhaps you don’t read blogs, in general? Are you so busy following up with the 10,000 spam emails you send to journalists that you just don’t have time to actually learn how much more effective pitching would be if you built relationships? Is it because relationship building takes time and you only have time to send one email? Or is it because the industry is still rewarding you for results in coverage instead of business growth?

Whatever the reason, stop it. Stop it now.

I just read an article Amber Mac wrote for Inc.

She says:

Every day I immediately delete about 20 percent of the messages in my inbox. Historically, the emails I trashed were mostly relegated to Nigerian scams and requests for cash from someone “unable to access” his pending inheritance. Fortunately, Gmail spam filters have helped to abolish most of these. Unfortunately, these same filters can do nothing for the endless stream of PR pitches that assault my inbox that are often irrelevant, impersonal, and, dare I say it, lazy.

I’d venture to guess I delete about the same percentage…and it’s not my name that’s listed as the chief content officer at Spin SucksLisa Gerber, how many pitches do you delete every day?

When Mitch Joel and I did our first podcast together, we talked about why most PR pitches suck.

He said something that really resonated. He said (I’m paraphrasing) every, single pitch that is researched and targeted is 100 percent effective.

Think about that. If you build a relationship with a blogger or a journalist and you pitch them what you already know they write about, you will hit a homerun every time.

It’s not that hard. It’s definitely much easier than it used to be. When I started my career we had big, green Bacon’s books. And we had only a few sets for 200 people. So you check out the books, look up the journalists in the industry, copy the pages, find the most recent magazine or newspaper articles they’d written – in hard copy – you’d read and then you’d pick up the phone and call them.

Now you can look up a journalist or blogger on Twitter and discover in less than five minutes not only what is interesting to them, but also where they write (and on which topics). Then you can switch over to their blog or online media and read a few articles or posts on the topic you’re about to pitch.

Yes, it takes longer, but it’s much more effective.

Gone are the days of cold calling and so are the days of mass pitching. Wouldn’t you rather know that if you pitch five journalists in one day, four of them are going to run a story, rather than send 10,000 emails and maybe get one bite?

Those odds seem pretty darn good to me.

Think about it. Do better. Let’s stop having this conversation.

With love,

Gini

 

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • ginidietrich

    @sophie180 It makes me crazy we still have to have this conversation

    • sophie180

      @ginidietrich I think many #PR pros pitch material outside their scope of industry knowledge. Take a little time to do some research.

      • ginidietrich

        @sophie180 Yes, and that pains me. I know I’d rather do the research and hit a homerun than no research and get nothing

  • ginidietrich

    @EdenSpodek Why is it so hard? I mean, really.

    • EdenSpodek

      @ginidietrich I don’t know. It seems like a lot of common sense to me. Then again, a lot of people ask for help so they can do it “right”.

      • ginidietrich

        @EdenSpodek How many CPRS events have you gone to over the years where journalists say this very thing and yet…

        • EdenSpodek

          @ginidietrich CPRS, IABC, podcasts, blogs and bloggers have said the same… too many to count… and yet…

    • EdenSpodek

      @ginidietrich Some people are resistant to change and want to keep old habits. Sometimes it’s cheaper to sell than best practices. 🙁

      • ginidietrich

        @EdenSpodek I know all people are not the same, but I would be so frustrated if that’s the approach I took

  • Dear Gini,
     
    This is a metaphor for a lot of what we’ve been talking about the past week or so. This is how all of us should be running our businesses. Relationships vs. Cold Calls. It’s a no brainer. Be human. It’s so simple and yet ignored. 
     
    Smooches,
     
    Ken
     
    P.S. I think I’ll nominate you for the CLASSY Awards. Oh…wait…I mean SASSY Awards.

    •  @KenMueller Be human. Why is this so hard?

      •  @ginidietrich I know. Asking humans to be humans. duh. What a concept

  • ginidietrich

    @JoyfulBathCo What are you doing?!?

    • JoyfulBathCo

      @ginidietrich hiii! guess who I’m meeting up with later today?

      • ginidietrich

        @JoyfulBathCo Um, Hollis Thomases?

        • JoyfulBathCo

          @ginidietrich noooo–Ces! then next week who? : ) exciting times around here in my twitterverse to IRL!

        • ginidietrich

          @JoyfulBathCo You get to see Ces?!? I’m so jealous!! Send me a picture of the two of you! And then I’ll see you next week!

  • Corinne Marasco

    I used to anchor the career and employment beat for a scientific association’s newsweekly magazine. Our target audience was chemists, chemical engineers and allied professionals. I would get pitches about books as well as individuals where it was obvious that the PR person hadn’t done his or her homework. I used to just delete them and when I did get a follow up phone call, the person on the other end of the phone was a young person, probably just out of college and learning the ropes.

    •  @Corinne Marasco That’s always the case. That’s how we all cut our teeth, as young professionals. I don’t have a problem with young pros making the calls, but why can’t we give them the tools to be successful? How about giving them a goal of researching 5-10 a day instead of emailing 10,000? 

      • Corinne Marasco

         @ginidietrich Absolutely. The quality of the training is more important instead of setting a quantitative goal.

  • Amen sister! Stop being lazy people, I promise it will not start to pay off!

    •  @rachaelseda It really pains me we have to keep having this conversation. Why, oh why??

      •  @ginidietrich Because obviously some people don’t read Spin Sucks…they need to get their ish together haha
         

        •  @rachaelseda I think that’s the issue. The people who do this aren’t continuing their education…or maybe they don’t realize there is a lot out here talking about the right ways of doing things.

  • benrothermel

    @jasonkonopinski @spinsucks Great article!

  • polleydan

    Yes, yes and yes. I can’t believe the PR pitches I get for my food blog. Some of them are so irrelevant to the blog topics that it’s clear they are just doing searches, finding contact info and sending out their pitches. It’s so frustrating.

    •  @polleydan Mmmmm….food. As much as I love services like Cision and Vocus, I think they hinder some PR pros because all they do is create the databases and email from there, without doing any research. The database development is only the first step, but that’s why you’re getting irrelevant pitches – you’re on some list.

      •  @ginidietrich  @polleydan The same could be said of any influencer analysis or relevance tracker tool out there – pumping out a report doesn’t provide insights into the data. 

  • John_Trader1

    It’s also important to note that at times, the first contact with a journalist need not be a pitch. Sometimes it’s commenting on a post. Other times its alerting them to a piece of research that may alter an article they previously wrote causing them to write a follow up piece (this happens a lot in tech). Sometimes it’s commenting on their personal tastes or something that is of interest outside of their 9 – 5 job. Be real. Be personal. They like it.

    •  @John_Trader1 Or following them on Twitter and having a conversation. It’s like anything else…build a relationship while you’re networking and you’ll find a reason to work together.

  • MichaelBowers

    I think you hit it on the head when you called it “lazy”. People have replaced quality with quantity because of the ease of reaching people on the internet. Unfortunately, in many cases this has become a number’s game. 

    •  @MichaelBowers It’s like cold calling of old, right? Same idea. The more phone calls you make, the more likely you are to get someone interested. It doesn’t work. It makes you look like an idiot. And it makes me crazy for the industry. 

      •  @ginidietrich @MichaelBowers Back in my sales days, we used to call that ‘dialing for dollars’. 😐

        •  @jasonkonopinski  @MichaelBowers Ug.

        •  @ginidietrich  @MichaelBowers And true to form, I pushed back on it from the very beginning. Using social tools even back in 2007ish worked to my advantage and my numbers told the story. 

        • MichaelBowers

           @jasonkonopinski  @ginidietrich Exactly 

      •  @ginidietrich Robots don’t feel like idiots… So get ready for when the pitches are written and distributed by algorithms! 

  • ginidietrich

    @stephkrol Seriously!

  • I think alot of it has to do with being able to say, “We sent the pitch out to 100 blogs and got 3 to pick up the story,” instead of “We sent the pitch out to 5 blogs and we got 3 to pick up the story.”
     
    It may just be that sending a pitch to everyone makes their boss feel good.

    •  @fitzternet 3/100 = 3% success rate vs. 3/5 = 60% success rate.  I know which side I’d like to be on. 🙂 

      •  @jasonkonopinski I’ve worked for many many people that would say, “100 shows that you’re doing 20 times the amount of work as the person who only sent it to 5.”

        •  @jasonkonopinski “And by the way, what exactly where you DOING when you weren’t sending it out to the other 95 blogs?”
           
          (Hint: The words “research” or “strategy” can’t be used in your response, because they already have people for that stuff, in the Research and Strategy Departments…)

      •  @jasonkonopinski  @fitzternet I’m with you, Jason. I’d rather show the percentage of effectiveness. 

        •  @ginidietrich  @jasonkonopinski I agree with both you. I was just theorizing on why stuff like this happens.

  • FlipSwitchPR

    Good info here, if you don’t know already RT @ginidietrich How to pitch stories like a pro & get results every time #PR http://t.co/zhwrtuGX

  • JodiEchakowitz

    Sadly, there are a few bad eggs in the industry that continue to ignore the great advice being given to them. I’m convinced that the PR folks who read your blog are the ones that do actually take the time to research media/bloggers, understand what they write about, and build a relationship with them – before actually pitching them. We’re the ones that want to take the time to learn how to fine tune our skills so we can constantly achieve great results. The PR folks that continue to use “spray and pray” tactics would probably never make the time or effort to read an educational blog post like this one – even if it meant it would help them be more effective in the work they are doing. So if they’re not prepared to educate themselves, how else can we get the message across? 

  • JodiEchakowitz

    Sadly, there are a few bad eggs in the industry that continue to ignore the great advice being given to them. I’m convinced that the PR folks who read your blog are the ones that do actually take the time to research media/bloggers, understand what they write about, and build a relationship with them – before actually pitching them. We’re the ones that want to take the time to learn how to fine tune our skills so we can constantly achieve great results. The PR folks that continue to use “spray and pray” tactics would probably never make the time or effort to read an educational blog post like this one – even if it meant it would help them be more effective in the work they are doing. So if they’re not prepared to educate themselves, how else can we get the message across? 

    •  @JodiEchakowitz I think “a few” is being kind. I’ll have to show you a tour of my inbox one day. <wink>

    •  @JodiEchakowitz I think you’re right, unfortunately. Those that do this don’t take the time to educate themselves on how times are changing. But I’m with @EdenSpodek … a few is being kind. I went through and looked at just yesterday’s pitches. There were 36 of them. In one day. I deleted them all.

      • JodiEchakowitz

         @ginidietrich  @EdenSpodek  That’s the optimist in me who likes to think there are only a “few” who give PR a bad name. But clearly, I’m way off base 🙁 

  • ginidietrich

    @KSinTucson Thanks! It makes me crazy we still have to have this conversation

    • KSinTucson

      @ginidietrich and to continue to have it with clients who feel research should be a one-time event…urg!

      • ginidietrich

        @KSinTucson Ha! VERY good point!

  • When will we ever learn? Hopefully soon!  Why can’t people remember relations is part of our name and act accordingly.  I do think part of the problem may be due to the way we look at billable hours as maximizing time/volume versus a quality approach.  That also requires a shift in mindset and hopefully it happens soon.
     
    And while we’re on the subject, I just got pitched for Inside PR this morning with an offer of a ‘dynamic radio guest available for immediate booking’.  So I’m going to book her right now…not.

    •  @martinwaxman Well, if she’s dynamic, I think you should reconsider.

      •  @ginidietrich  @martinwaxman That was one of my finely-crafted personas. I’m really a 50-year-old plumber from Dubuque named Ned. 

  • ginidietrich

    @LouHoffman LOL!!

  • I give this post two thumbs up and a snap.
     
    Maybe we need to go back to the days of the hard copy Bacon’s books, if only to force the lazy PR professionals to physically do some research. We have so much new technology at our hands to make our jobs easier, yet, we fail to use it wisely.
     
    There’s a reason posts like these continue to get written.

    •  @bradmarley I know the reason!!!! The people who need to read this aren’t interested. They’re too busy building massive email databases. 🙁

      •  @Lisa Gerber As James Hetfield from Metallica might say if he were responding to your comment with lyrics from one of his songs, “Sad but true.”
         
        The other thing I like about this post is that it offers solid advice, rather than just yelling at us to stop being stupid. I hate that.

  • Agree totally and you’re actually touching upon an even deeper issue here:  Having substantive knowledge of industry, sector, your client/cause and the environment in which they/it operates. 
     
    I’m not saying that you need to have a PhD in the sciences to effectively “pitch” a science story, but have some really solid background – and if you don’t have it, find someone to help.  In my 10 years at a big agency I saw the evolution of client expectations of their teams.  It was no longer about simply being really good at PR (whatever that means) – it was about having individuals who knew the product, mission and environment, and could bring unique and relevant perspectives with little to no learning curve.  The same holds true in pitching  – it’s about having an informed conversation and finding compelling and unique points of view that are worth sharing with others.  As you’ve said  this is the kind of effort that yields results. 
     
    Gini – maybe if we did more this when we little AEs pitching juce, bread, soy protein, catfish, etc. we could have pitched 10 reporters, secured 6 stories and then gone dancing for the rest of the month!  🙂 

    •  @NabeehaKazi I think about that time we sent two bottles of Ocean Spray juice to 500 journalists. No phone call ahead of time. No email to see if they were interested. We just sent them. And we didn’t get any results….and we didn’t know why. If you’d told me we could have done that more efficiently, gotten results, AND we could have gone dancing for the rest of the month, I would have said SIGN ME UP! 

  • terreece

    One of the sites I manage is all about Columbus, Ohio – things to see and do kindof stuff. I carve out 10 mins to go through the pitches with finger poised on the delete button because so many have absolutely nothing to do with Columbus.
     
    I love getting stuff for events in Washington State or my favorite of all time (so far)  – a release on monkey research. Now Columbus has quite a few higher ed and research facilities…this had nothing to do with any of them. Sure I could have used those facilities and interviewed sources there to put a local spin on it, but that’s not the kind of thing we put on the site.  Crazy!

    •  @terreece Monkey research?!? Send it to me! I love monkeys!

      • terreece

         @ginidietrich Oh not just any old research, monkey mammary glands research. I will send shortly. 

  • MikeSchaffer

    I totally agree, but with some caveats.
     
    I think there is a time and a place for “mass-pitching.” 
     
    Here are the rules I use:
     
    1) When a story is HOT news that needs to get out NOW.
    2) When client budgets don’t afford you the time to do the research and relationship-building you would want to do.
    3) When you don’t expect/anticipate placement, just media awareness.
     
    Over my career, I’ve had countless stories placed BECAUSE the drip of information got a reporter interested in a client. The “wow, I’ve seen the stuff you’ve got going on…let’s talk!” factor does work.
     
    When you work in an agency with a diverse array of clients (size, scope, industry, staff), it’s impossible for every pro to build relationships with every relevant media member.
     
    But, absolutely, when you can avoid the mass pitch, steer clear.

    •  @MikeSchaffer See, I disagree on your caveats. If your client doesn’t have the budget to do the research, they shouldn’t be having you pitch. The backlash to a mass emailed pitch is worse than getting the media awareness…and not all PR is good. If you don’t already have the relationships built that a client requires, you should turn the business away or build the relationships on your own time and charge the client only for the results. If the news is hot and it needs to get out now, you likely already have the relationships built in order to stand out in the inbox. 

  • Somewhere out there, there is a template for guest blogger pitches for lazy PR people. It goes something like this:  
     
    Insert suck-up/ brown nose sentence here.
    Talk about yourself and how many years you’ve been in business and how you are the world’s leading blah blah blah. 
    Offer a guest post and use these words “custom article, prepared specifically for you and unique to you.” 
    We can’t wait to hear from you. 
    Love, 
    The Car Insurance Company or something totally unrelated. 🙂 
     
    I don’t even count how many I delete any more. 
     
    It will never ever be easy to do media relations. And it takes a lot of time. We won’t accept a guest contribution from someone who is just doing it for the inbound link. We want people who are interested in being a part of the discussion and sharing their expertise, and also want an inbound link and some exposure.
     
    That whole word “relations” after media? Yeah, that’s half of it. 

    •  @Lisa Gerber Out of all the pitches you get, remove those asking to guest post, how many do you think are clear “we want you to write about this for us” requests?

      •  @ginidietrich well, dannybrown is on the “Please, pitch me, idiots” list so he gets the real doozies. I probably get about dozen or so at least per week that ask us to write about the latest FB contest, or new gaming app to give just a couple examples. 

    •  @Lisa Gerber OMG. I’ve started getting more and more blogger pitches and I swear, they all use a template with that line “custom article prepared specifically for you.” They also say something like “I don’t ask for anything in return, just a link back to my company’s website.” And, they are always for the most random things. 
       
      Is there some site out there generating templates like this for people? Because honestly, these emails look the EXACT same every time. It’s eerie how similar they all are. And, why? Because honestly, they don’t work…at least, not very well.
       
       
       
       

      •  @lauraclick RIght??? There has to be a template somewhere because it’s written almost verbatim but it’s always from different companies. Horrible. And in all fairness, sometimes the topics are good – I just know they won’t be a meaningful contribution to the site. 

        •  @Lisa Gerber We need to find the source of this template madness. Argh!
           
          I actually did accept one guest blog post off of a template email because the post they submitted was actually good. I had some edit for her to make it stronger, she made them and the post actually got a nice bit of traction (comments, RTs). So, I guess it’s bad to paint them all with the same brush, but it’s hard to decipher the good ones from the bad ones when they’re all saying the same thing!
           
          BTW – If you haven’t written about it, maybe it would be cool to talk about your review and qualification process for guest posts. I know I’ve built a guest post guidelines page and then a template email response that includes a link to guidelines. That has been a HUGE help in weeding people out. I send the email to everyone, but so few people actually respond after that. I’m guessing because the guidelines are so detailed (yet, in my opinion, very reasonable). 

    • @Lisa Gerber I just got this in an email: “I hope all is well.  For your records, I’m sending along our new media kit which describes how COMPANY is supporting our agency partners and their clients’ efforts to reach their exact business audiences across the web through precise display ads, social media targeting, and deep audience analytics.” And then attached a PDF media kit!
       

      •  @ginidietrich Shut. Up. ATTACHED? a PDF KIT? which is amazing because what they are doing for their agency partners is unbe-freaking-lieve-ably cutting edge. Display ads? Social media targeting? Whoa. 

        •  @Lisa Gerber  @ginidietrich Do you realize how often you two tell each other to shut up? I think we need an intervention. Also, I’ve noticed that no matter how often you tell each other to shut up…you never do!

        •  @KenMueller  @Lisa Gerber It’s a term of endearment. 

        •  @ginidietrich  @Lisa Gerber Oh, well in that case, both of you just SHUT UP!

        • @KenMueller @ginidietrich @Lisa Gerber OMG, seriously, you just made me laugh. And I just had to bore my family with the story because they wanted to know what I was laughing at.

        •  @Lisa Gerber @ginidietrich  SHUT. UP!

  • CourtV

    You know what really boggles my mind? Where are these people getting their target outreach list from? I think it’d be interesting to know how much time they put into not only finding the people, but also aimlessly pitching all of them and if they ever see any results at all. The best part is that there are sooo many tools out there to help you target better (and are much easier than Bacon’s), which obviously equals much better results. If you check out traackrone.com there are hundreds of top 50 influencer lists done for you (yes, I do work for Traackr, but just couldn’t see a way around mentioning this)! Subscribe to a list and voila, you actually have RELEVANT and engaged influencers at your fingertips. Aside from Traackr One there are a ton of other tools out there as well – just find one that works and utilize it. Now, the process of engagement with the people that come up on these lists is up to the professional…and I suppose a good starting point would be to read this blog post again 😉 

    •  @CourtV I honestly don’t think the people who do this read blogs. Or any kind of media. Or go to PRSA or IABC events. I think they work in holes and don’t realize what they’re doing.

  • Amazes me that in today’s day and age, you’d even need to dedicate a post to this. Sadly, you do.

    •  @KensViews And it’s not the first time I’ve written about it or spoken on the topic. It makes me a little nuts.

      •  @ginidietrich I’m not sure if it’s Accoun Sups forcing their AEs and JAEs to smile and dial, but how can they get it’s about quality, not quantity? Jeez!

      •  @ginidietrich Well THAT explains it!

  • Love, love, love, love. 
     
    Why is it that the more information easily/readily available, the lazier people get? I guess this just means that the people who know what they’re doing are going to continue to demolish the competition because they’ll be able to stand out from all of the crap and clutter out there.
     
    Relationships still matter. And, perhaps more so now than ever before. Yes, it takes time, but the payoff is SO much greater.
     

    •  @lauraclick I know all people are not the same, but I’d so much rather take the time to build a relationship that guarantees a story than to mass pitch and hope something happens. Back in my hey day (when I still pitched media), I got the front pages of the LA Times, NY Times, and WSJ in the same year because of this approach. Kind of seems like a no brainer.

  • While I am not in PR and do not know much of your secret ways, I find this post applies to my work in sales.  I would rather spend time with 2-3 valued, vetted contacts per institution then rush around to see 20+ just to show my due diligence.  Now don’t get me wrong I love busy days (my record was 21 calls in 5.5 hours this fall, all wonderful people and great connections), but only when meeting people with whom I have something to offer, to respect both their time and my own.  I have worked in sales roles where you are given a hard target of so many face to face calls a week, and found, much like you say here, I would much rather meet 5 pre-qualified customers and have 3 move forward with me than run around aimlessly to meet an empty quota. I personally research every potential customer I meet to be sure that I have something relevant and helpful to say to them, and am surprised by how many of my competitive colleagues do not. Taking the time to show a very real interest in my customers gives us a starting point from which to build our relationship. I appreciate you putting some facts and figures to this, even if I go and make it all about sales. 

    •  @RebeccaTodd “Pitching,” which is one part of “Publicity,” which is one part of “PR” is indeed like sales–but only if we define sales as hearing a target’s pain and  helping them solve it, and/or helping them do their jobs better.  In this case, it’s helping the media rep or blogger develop a story that will be of interest and value to his/her audience. Once publicists get this, they’ll start to focus on quality, not quantity—and their quantity of successful placements will increase. Vastly.

      •  @KensViews Thanks Ken!  And you have accurately described how I view my role in sales. 

        •  @RebeccaTodd I got that feeling! Bet you’re successful.

        •  @KensViews Ugh as much as this sounds like fromage, I actually draw great satisfaction from feeling helpful. The teacher in me, perhaps. 

    •  @RebeccaTodd your story is funny. I spent 14 years in B2B industrial sales. I had managers who sometimes would rather see I made 20 phone calls to the wrong people than just 3 to the right ones. I also used to solicit competitors catalogs with a fake business with a home address. This one sales rep who I knew (not closely but met him once) because he represented a vendor we sold product for. He switched to a competitor. he called my residence seriously once a month for 3 years trying to get me on the phone. Never once checking to see who I was. I assumed so he could include me in his call list.

      •  @HowieSPM That’s awesome! I just bought a (slightly used) car, and got the follow up “If anything isn’t a “10”, please let us know!” emails and phone calls (multiples of both). When I pointed out that a scratch was not buffed out, and there were grease and chocolate covered hand prints on the interior, they told me they would “get right back to me”. No reply, yet I was still receiving the emails and calls asking me if “anything isn’t a “10” please let us know.” Great to see that having me in his “contacts” list is more important than actually listening to me.  I’ve bought 2 cars there over the years and recommended it to friends, but won’t ever again. If he had taken even a fraction of the time needed to reply to me rather than spamming my inbox, this would have been avoided. But hey, he sent out his required number of emails, right? 

    •  @RebeccaTodd So take this example and put it into play right now. A year ago, if you had called me on the phone (or sent an email), out of the blue, I would have ignored you. But today? If you did either, not only would you get my attention, I’d listen to everything you have to say and really weigh whether or not it made sense for me to work with you. 

  • Dear Gini Dietrich
     
    My client makes the best riding lawn mowers in all of Iowa. We are announcing a new model that has a built in beer huggy and a remote control starter. We would love for you to do a story about our new model in your really well read blog.
     
    Thank you.
     
    George.

    •  @HowieSPM Sir, your pitch is WAY off base.  If you had said that you have a riding lawn mower that disburses black bean tacos to the rider, @ginidietrich  would have written about it!

      •  @KensViews  @HowieSPM  @ginidietrich OR- she would be happy to test drive any sort of taxidermied remote control vehicle.

        •  @RebeccaTodd  @KensViews  @HowieSPM Especially if it’s a cat that flies.

        • Once again, I see something that  @ginidietrich  has written,and think “WTF?”! @RebeccaTodd  @HowieSPM 

        •  @KensViews  @ginidietrich  @RebeccaTodd  @HowieSPM I used the flying cat story quite successfully in a business conversation this week. That stuffed feline helped me earn a couple of bucks this week. Here is to social media. 😀

        •  @KensViews  Here – #3: http://spinsucks.com/social-media/gin-and-topics-death-fear-and-resurrection/

        •  @ginidietrich I had blocked that out of my mind when you first posted it.  Thanks for reminding me about it. NOT.

        •  @TheJackB  @KensViews  @ginidietrich  @HowieSPM YES!!! I need to hear how that story helped out…and in today’s amazeballs news…it’s Dead Cat Helicopter the song!?! (I kinda want to see a turtle train, though…) http://bit.ly/L7SGfu 

  • jennwhinnem

    I just got a request from a freelancer to write a blog for me about injuries sustained from vibrating work tools. Um, that’s not what my org’s blog is about.

    •  @jennwhinnem Must get mind out of gutter. Must get mind out of gutter. Must get mind out of gutter.

  • geekgiant

     I take issue with the assertion that it is “easier” to research a potential person because of social media. In the example you give of using Bacon’s, you referenced only one channel to reach an influencer: The telephone. Compare that with today: Twitter, Facebook, blogs, contributed articles, YouTube, email and maybe phone. Building a relationship on a single channel is difficult as attention and mind-share are so distributed and there is less of a “genuine” connection because of the distributed interactions. Add to that the difficulty of tracking down reliable contact information for specific writers and you get a good recipe for lazy, spray and pray pitching.
     
    Doing the homework and being smart with researching appropriate influencers and outlets should be the starting point of any pitch.  

    •  @geekgiant Sure, but it’s all in how you use it. A lot of journalists are now using Twitter and the comments on their stories to source interviews and additional topics. Why wouldn’t you start there?

  • magriebler

    Unfortunately, we keep having the conversation because we forget this basic rule of thumb: A pitch ultimately should never be about us. It must contain a clearly articulated benefit to our audience, whether it’s a journalist or a blogger or a client. No benefit; no luck with the pitch. It’s that simple and that difficult!

    •  @magriebler Well said!

    •  @magriebler Very well said…I don’t understand why this is so hard for people to grasp.

  • I didn’t realize how bad most PR pitches were until I started receiving some. No name, or worse, the wrong name, and it appears that none of the PR pros had listened to our podcast! Isn’t this Media Relations 101? I highly suggest PR pros get their names into Cision somehow and see what it’s like on the receiving end of bad pitches–it will change the way you engage media. 
     
    http://reputationsblog.tumblr.com/post/24221429039/when-the-pitch-tables-turn-a-pr-pro-gets-her-first

    •  @irisdias I think you’re right – until you’re on the receiving end of pitches, you don’t realize how bad it is.

  • ginidietrich

    @erinlrandall Thanks!

  • ginidietrich

    @kmatthews Look at that baby!

    • kmatthews

      @ginidietrich Pretty much the cutest baby ever… you know, if I do say so myself.

      • ginidietrich

        @kmatthews I think so, too!

  • jwalcher

    We’ve heard this a million times, and just can’t hear it enough. Thanks for the reminder. I can send it to my staff without coming off like a noodge. (I remember those big green books…those were the good ‘ol days!).

    •  @jwalcher Do you remember when they went online?? Your time researching journalists was cut in half!

  • ginidietrich

    @lisagerber Is it possible to eradicate douchebaggery?

    • lisagerber

      @ginidietrich Um, not 100 percent. But! it’s a bold mission, and the DB’s do make the rest of us look better.

  • And you want to make it easier for them to do this via automated writing bots?
     
    Bwahahahahaha!

    •  @Sean McGinnis I think you’ve taken my blog post earlier this week too far. I simply said I can see the need for earnings reports, analysis of Big Data, and Little League games to be written by algorithms because there is a need for these things to be written that humans are not doing. I do not think algorithms should replace humans, nor do I think it’ll be super cool to be spammed by computers. 

      •  @ginidietrich I have a habit of taking things too far – you should know that. Machines are already spamming us – it just so happens its in the form of search engine spam. Article spinning software and automated blog comments. Blech. It’s only a matter of time (at this rate) before automated press releases and crappy email pitches are done via automated software (if they aren’t already).

        •  @Sean McGinnis I agree with you, but you made it sound like I advocate that practice. I do not.

        •  @ginidietrich I’m just concerned that these new botnets will take over the world, like skynet. 🙂

  • LauraScholz

    First of all, thanks for reminding me that I am old, because I totally remember those Bacon’s books. Second of all, the important thing about a good pitch formed out of a quality relationship (or at least enough research to start and build one) is that it starts a dialogue. I hardly ever get “no” or no response from journalists–instead, we immediately begin a conversation about how we can make it the best story possible. I actually just landed a huge media sponsorship for a client because I’ve kept in touch with the magazine’s publisher for over a year online, re-posted her content regularly, met her for coffee (which was generous on her part) and waited until I had the exact right fit to approach her (and the approach was editorial–the sponsorship was an extra gesture on her part). A year’s worth of work with a huge payoff for everyone involved. And wouldn’t have been accomplished if I’d been sending her crap and/or mass emails during that time or hadn’t stopped to get to know her.

    •  @LauraScholz Exactly! I know it’s a long time, but it’s worth every second you invested.

  • audreyschroder

    I think people these days are afraid to pick up the phone and pitch. Real pros know that often the quickest and most effective tool is the phone, not email. Loved the reminder especially as I am preparing for an event coming up!

    •  @audreyschroder As someone who is pitched, I don’t mind getting emails, if they’re targeted, relevant, and from someone I know. If they had to wait to pitch me for the phone, they’d wait two weeks between phone tag so I don’t mind email at all.

  • Yes, relationships do matter and it’s worth taking the time to develop them.
     
    Hey, that was better than ‘great post’ at least……….

    •  @bdorman264 Who is this?

      •  @ginidietrich The lurker extraordinaire; the next A-lister with all that wasted POtential; the cat w/ 2,020 comment points. If this was Klout I would have a free car by now……….. 

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  • EdwardSmith1

    Fantastic advice, I coach authors how to get on TV and you wrote what I spend most of my first session with clients on.  Thanks, Edward Smith. 

  • ryancox

    Just read this @ginidietrich . You’re, well, moderately smart. It’s very becoming. 

  • ginidietrich

    @michaeltriley As my mom would say: Some people’s children!

  • rustyspeidel

    I tried this the other day. 3 for 5. Awesome!

    •  @rustyspeidel I love it when you listen to me!

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