There is no doubt that the PR profession is profoundly changing. As the months slip by, I can't stress this enough: Press releases are passé. PR professionals are forced with a decision: Get with it, or get out of the profession.
A few weeks ago, I got in some hot water with some of my fellow PR professionals for being too tough on a agency employee for sending me an off-topic pitch. Since then, I've received my share of pitches. Copyblogger's Brian Clark really inspired me today, after reading this excellent monster list of recommendations on how to pitch properly.
Since it's never my intention to simply point out what's wrong with our profession - but to try to point out what is right - I'm including this recent email I received, along with my comments, to point out why it works.
Here is the headline and the first paragraph:
It was addressed informally, "Hi, Claire," but that's cool. She spelled my name correctly. Second, she included a crucial detail. Since I contribute material to PR Daily, she immediately made the connection that she was sending this and thought it would be suitable for PR Daily. To be completely honest, the subject line was ok, but could have been a little more exciting. But it was descriptive, at least. Don't waste that crucial real estate with a spammy note such as "press release" or "for your consideration."
She obviously took the time to Google my name, noting my connection to PR Daily. That is crucial when dealing with a reporter or a blogger. It does not take more than 2 minutes to Google each person. If you don't have time to research each person, that means you are spamming your pitch to WAY too many people.
Next, it's a marketing trends story. I occasionally write about that subject. The best part came next. She offered her company as an ongoing resource! And gave me the name of a real person to contact. Cool!
The email was informative, factual, full of good information. The marketing trend link took me to a web page with the information promised. She also took the extra step of including the information into the body of the email in case I just scrolled down to see it.
Appropriately missing was a news release. Why? Because this is NOT NEWS. It's information. It's a huge mistake to use a "news release" format to transmit INFORMATION. This is called a "pitch email," and it's highly effective because it meets the following criteria:
- On target with what the blogger writes about
- Personalized and researched
- Valuable information
Well done! I'd love to hear your stories of some great pitches you've received. Thanks for reading!