As a public relations professional, I never liked media relations. Or maybe media relations didn’t like me. But when the strategy included publicity, I pitched aggressively, and I landed some big stories for my clients over the years.
I earned those placements one at a time, tailoring story angles and crafting details for specific outlets and specific journalists. I don’t know any other way. And never did I use the scatter-shot news distribution or the kind of cold calling that Kevin Dugan calls “steamroller public relations.
Kevin is co-author of the Bad Pitch blog, and he’s helping teach my class on Media Relations & Publicity this semester simply by posting his discoveries and his comments. So this post is, in part, to thank Kevin and his blogging partner Richard Laerman for dishing up media relations wisdom with a side of humor and attitude.
Several times each week the Bad Pitch guys highlight the worst pitches, shining the light on insipid stories, even insipid non-stories. They also expose rude and insensitive behavior by those who do the pitching. In the mix, they also offer constructive advice for media relations pros.
You can’t make this stuff up. And it’s funny.
There’s the story about the naked guy romping through the Chadds Ford Vineyards of Pennsylvania. The pitch, as it turns out, was a come-on for the company’s new “naked chardonnay.” Cute, but also cheesy and misleading. If you like sexual innuendo in pitches, read about the “Debbie Does Data” pitch. It ties a porn flick and a tropical storm into a story about computer security. I guess you could call that “creative.” Want to see the damage that spam pitching via email can do? Read about HWH Public Relations, the “first agency, in its entirety, to be outed by the Bad Pitch blog.”
You get the idea. Explore the archives and you’ll find many more gems.
Twice this semester I’ve linked my Kent State PR majors to Bad Pitch posts. And if Kevin and Richard maintain their vigilance into 2007, I’ll make Bad Pitch required reading. No textbook is bold enough or irreverent enough to serve up such incredibly bad examples of media relations work. May we all learn from it, even if we gotta cringe a bit.