Pitch Practices: learn them...learn to love them (and then I'll love you)
My inbox is getting pummeled with pitches. The upside? The industry is realizing the influence of these tremendous communications tools (or I should say the tremendous people behind these tools). The downside? Most of the pitches are deplorable. It confounds me, actually.
If you've received a link to this post in response to your email--as this is far easier than writing it a zillion times--please understand I'm doing you a favor (as most would simply delete your email, but we bloggers are generous beings). I'm also looking out for my colleagues who are likely receiving the same deplorable pitches. You'll find we bloggers really look out for one another's best interests, too.
I appreciate that we're all on a steep learning curve in this brave new blogging world. But learn we must...
If pitching books:
1. There will be NO review sans a read: Don't ask me to promote your book unless I've read your book. I'm not quite sure why this comes across as odd, but so as the NYTimes so too on this blog: I only review that which I can speak to intelligently, and honestly. An FAQ or press kit does not replace a read (and I couldn't respect myself in the morning). Plus, why blow your chance at Book Club, too?
2. Speaking of reading: Please also follow points #3 - #10 below.
If pitching me on anything else be it animal, mineral, vegetable...or digital:
3. Lay off the lines (I get enough of them at bars): Do not try to flatter me by telling me I'm a popular blogger. This does not flatter me, actually it irks me. I don't care about rankings; I care only about relationships that I'm so very fortunate to have made all over the world due to this amazing medium.
4. I'd like a side-order of context, please: At least have a line introducing yourself and why you're contacting me instead of heading straight into"I thought you would want to know about X, Y or Z."
5. Size doesn't matter (isn't that nice to hear for once?): Do not try to impress me by telling me you are from a BIG ad agency, PR firm or Publishing House. Yawn. This little marketer lives, works and thrives in a BIG city all by her itty-bitty self. Big names don't impress me; big ideas and great causes do.
6. Brevity is a beautiful thing: Don't send insanely long emails; pretend there exists a two-paragraph limit.
7. Personalize to realize, baby: At the very least please address me by name; especially being I've made it so very easy for you (it's only 2 letters long, "CK").
8. I can't be bought (well, you can't afford me): This blog does not accept advertising. While I could use the money it wouldn't be worth the price to my soul. Also, I don't accept "stuff" (loaned or otherwise), I only accept books to review for the Book Club...and then I outright buy the books we feature and giveaway review copies because knowledge is only good when it's shared.
9. Do your own dirty work: It never, ever--did I mention never?-- makes sense for you to throw a pack of interns against the pitch process. Even when you write the messaging for them it's obvious when they're replying to my inquiries.
10. Treat everyone with equal weight: Treat citizen media journalists with the same care and level of respect as you do mainstream media journalists...remember, not only do bloggers write for free (another reason to be ultra respectful of their free time), it's many times much easier for bloggers to pick-up and run with a story than it is for the mainstream media outlets. Rumor has it, if we tell one person they tell ten others. And then something like 10,000 new people will know in the course of an hour.
Thank you for contributing to (and not contaminating) this rich medium,
P.S.: Please tell all your friends ;-).