Amber Gallaty who heads up our New York office forwarded a great post from “A Journalist” lambasting PR folks for robo-pitching.

It prompted me to summarize what I’ve learned from  40 years in PR and the surfeit of crappy pitches I now get because this blog has made it onto someone’s list:

-READ what they write, pitch to their interest and make the pitch personal.
-Don’t pretend you know the person if you don’t.
-Invest the time, energy and money to get to know them in person so you establish credibility with no quid pro quo implied or stated.
-Be formal….no “hey there”, or “Hi!” (“My name’s BRITney!!!!!!!)
-Don’t use exclamation points. As Tish once told me, God gave you three: One for your birth announcement, one for your obit, and one to use during your life. Use it wisely.
-Cut to the chase…open with an insight that speaks to their interest or something they just wrote, then pitch your idea’s value relative to that. “I just read the piece you did about e-commerce and was intrigued by your ideas. Here’s a different perspective on the subject you might find interesting.”
-Follow up with a reason why their particular readers would find the story of interest.
-Don’t ask them to do anything (“let me know if you want some more information, photos etc.”) That’s your job.
-Don’t follow up with an email asking, “just checking to see if you got my pitch email.” If you must follow up,  I’d rather get a phone call than an email…these days it’s more personal.
-Find a creative way to get the answer to the question you’re really asking: “are you going to write anything about the subject I sent you.”

Lastly, recognize that real journalism is a dying craft. Those still employed are getting paid a pittance, and they’re clinging to a belief that what they do matters to the paying subscribers of their  rapidly expiring publications. PR folks need to acknowledge and respect that.