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Archive for the ‘Pitching’ Category

The problem:

Honestly, NO ONE in the world could be a more HORRID PR practitioner than Lois Whitman-Hess.   You didn’t hear about her?  Click here, or here.  This is a woman who thinks that just because a reporter is attending a tradeshow, they HAVE to meet with her client.  This is a woman who CALLS 45 reporters at the Wall Street Journal in ONE day.  This is a woman who spams journalists like it’s cool.  This is the kind of PR practitioner that makes bloggers think “PR” is a bad word.

WE GET IT.  There are some REALLY HORRIBLE public relations practitioners out there.

The solution:

Bloggers- I want to ask you a HUGE favor for 2009. HUGE.  I want to see one of you- one of you with the respect of the entire PR industry start a new blog or weekly column.  It will be called: The PHENOMENAL PITCH BLOG or something similar.  In this blog/column, you will call out the most outstanding PR pitches you have heard and call out the individuals who pitched.  This will be the anti-blacklist.  (The White-list.  Generic.  You get the idea.)

The philosophy:

I don’t think people learn from rants.  (Ironic since I am writing one.)  I think people learn best from shining examples of good.  In 2008, we’ve suffered through the economy, and if there is one thing that social media has taught me, it’s that (most of the time) positivity rises to the top while negativity sinks, ignored.   Maybe if we have a list of GREAT PR folks, people will strive to MAKE the list.  Let’s give PR people something to strive toward, not a list of avoid.

What now?

I’m one person.  A PR person, a blogger.  If you agree, if you want to see the PHENOMENAL PITCH BLOG come to life… forward this blog.  Who will do it for us?  For the WHOLE public relations industry?

I would be forever grateful.

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Day after day I am seeing tweets on my Twitter account from journalists that say things like:

  • PR Pro Tip: Do NOT pitch me on Facebook, or;
  • Pitching me on Facebook is an invasion of my privacy, don’t do it!

Is Facebook Private?
I am not surprised that many journalists aren’t appreciating this. I am surprised that PR professionals are slipping business pitches into a space that IMHO is “invite only” and private.

From my perspective, Facebook is a semi-private domain on the Internet. I decide who my friends are and I also decide how I utilize the tool once I’m in. Many people use Facebook as a social service, planting gardens and posting pictures to share with their friends. In my case, I utilize Facebook to catch up with old friends, share my thoughts on issues that are important to me via FriendFeed/Twitter, post my resume, share my blog, etc. For me, my Facebooking is a combination of social and business usage, and as a result, I don’t want everyone to have access.

Measuring Interest
At this point, any of the PR pros who have sent a Facebook pitch are probably thinking: Yeah, but I can send a pitch to a reporter without being their friend via the “Message Me” function. Yes, on Facebook you can pitch Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal. But do you think he’ll appreciate it?

I went on Twitter to find out. Walt Mossberg has 902 followers. He is following zero people. NONE. I don’t think it’s a leap to guess that he likes sharing what he has written with the world, but might not be as interested to hear what PR pros have to say via a social media tool.

Even with bloggers, it’s much the same. Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, for example has 25,000+ followers but only follows 480+ people.

How to Achieve Results
I understand, it’s hard to get your message out to these very influential folks. So what are PR pros to do? Follow the rules. Of each individual journalist, and pay attention to follow out what those rules are. Paying attention will lead to results.

You Decide
But nothing is definitive. I believe as much as some journalists dislike Facebook pitches, there MUST be some out there that love them, right? I have created two new groups on Facebook to find out.

Dude, don’t pitch me on Facebook!

Dude, I love being pitched on Facebook!

Journalists, bloggers, writers of all kind, please help us PR pros out! Please click on one of the pages and register. What do you think? Should Facebook pitches stay, or go away?

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