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 an agency employee who sent 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
As it's never my intention simply to point out what's wrong with our profession—but to try to point out what is right—I’d like to highlight 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, which is also cool (very cool).
Second, she included a crucial detail. Because I contribute to PR Daily
, she immediately made the connection that she thought it suitable for PR Daily
The subject line was just OK; it could have been a little more exciting. But it was descriptive, at least. Don't waste that crucial real estate with spammy info 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 doesn’t take more than two minutes to Google each recipient. 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, and 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 in the body of the email in case I just scrolled down to see it.
Appropriately absent 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 is:
1. On target with what the blogger writes about;
2. Personalized and researched;
4. Valuable information;
A version of this story first appeared on the blog Public Relations Princess.