Don't ever call me (and other PR tips from reporters)

PR people, please PLEASE PLEASE stop "calling to follow up on an email” PLEASE

— Jordan Crook (@jordanrcrook)

February 4, 2014

 One of the hard and fast rules of pitching reporters is that it seems there are no hard and fast rules of pitching a reporter. A reporter may complain about getting phone calls one one hand and then write a paean to being virtually stalked EXACTLY a month later.

if you feel you can walk the line between annoying and effective, listen up http://t.co/YpQ57SiwXk

— Jordan Crook (@jordanrcrook)

March 4, 2014

 So it's no surprise that pitching the media is excruciatingly frustrating for anyone who does it, whether they are founders, agencies or consultants.

In our short month since launch, we've talked with over 250 entrepreneurs about press outreach and we've shared with with them our simple approach. We've also told them we DO have some hard and fast rules about press outreach that go beyond PR tips and that we will release them as customers if they violate them.

Rule #1: No Phone Calls

Calls working journalist at 4:30 -- Is now a good time?

— Michael Learmonth (@learmonth)

January 30, 2014

 

Least effective PR tactic: Leave entire 2-minute pitch on voicemail.

— Matt Rosoff (@MattRosoff)

January 21, 2014

 

PR people: If your boss tells you to “follow up” on a pitch with a phone call your boss is 100% wrong.

— Steve Kovach (@stevekovach)

November 8, 2013

 

 Reporters have hard jobs. They have to be creative and be on a deadline. Very few of us deal with this on a daily basis. They also have to deal with editors and manage sources. As a result, they probably pay more attention to their phones more than most of us at work. So don't call them. Of course, they can call you or ask you to call them, but please never call a reporter unsolicited, even if you have an existing relationship.

‘Don’t call. You can email, but if I don’t respond it’s because I’m not interested. The ONLY time you should call is if I call you first.'

— Ryan Lawler (@ryanlawler)

November 12, 2013

 Rule #2: Don't @Reply, DM or PM or INMail

 

@sarahcuda Hi, Sarah! What number can I dial to contact someone @ Mashable Brand Lab?

— Rocio del Moral (@rodelmo)

November 22, 2013

@sarahcuda It's me again! #weirdtweetsoftheday how can we get in touch to publish a piece on PandoDaily for a client of ours?

— Rocio del Moral (@rodelmo)

November 23, 2013

 

GO AWAY RT @roelandp@ryanlawler im starting this bitcoin exchange site, let me tell you about it:

— Ryan Lawler (@ryanlawler)

November 12, 2013

 

ugh someone just DM pitched me

— ಠ_ಠ (@MikeIsaac)

October 15, 2013

 This is simple and straightforward. Don't friend a reporter on Facebook with the intention of sending them a PM. Same for LinkedIn. You're not being clever when you Snap or calendar invite as a pitch, you're just being a pain in the ass. We encourage our customers to follow reporters on their beat on Twitter and @ reply when there's a topic of interest or to answer a question. But don't ever @reply to get their attention. Reporters get 300 emails a day, wouldn't it ruin Twitter for them if they got 300 @reply pleas to read a pitch. Just don't do it.

Rule #3: Give Email Time

in case you're wondering, no i haven't read your email. and i probably won't until late tonight/tom. use smoke signals instead.

— Sarah Perez (@sarahintampa)

January 22, 2014

 Email is the best way to get ahold of a reporter (with certain exceptions). It works, but it doesn't work immediately. Always leave enough time before your announcement to email the reporter and have one follow-up. One follow-up should suffice. We may be less aggressive in our approach than others, but we aim to be as respectful as possible and live up to our name and be "press friendly." Remember, as a founder you want to build relationships with reporters so that they'll cover you as your company grows. A little respect can go a long way.

me: feel free to send details. email #1: here you go! email #2, hours later: did you get it??? email #3: hey, did you get it?? -- me: uggghh

— Sarah Perez (@sarahintampa)

December 3, 2013

 The first email should be the pitch, usually 7-14 days before you'd like the coverage to hit. If you don't get a response, send a second email 3 days out as a reminder along with a note that you'd like a response within 24 hours or you'll take your news somewhere else. In many cases the reporter will respond one way or another to this email. Any more emails and you are essentially wasting your time and theirs and are a spammer.

Hey, PR folks: If I don't cover your product the first couple of times you email me, chances are I'm going to ignore your 30 followups too.

— Peter Cohen (@flargh)

August 13, 2013

 Rule #4: No mass emails

A new low for clueless PR: Calling to follow up on unsolicited, bulk email sent an hour previously.

— Tom Simonite (@tsimonite)

October 18, 2013

PressFriendly does not let its customers spray and pray. We purposely create smaller email lists than other lists providers. Our average list is about 30-40 publications with multiple reporters at some publications. The reason that so many people send mass emails is that they don't know who's interested in the story. Probably the best thing about PressFriendly is that we use machine learning to match the pitch to the right reporter using their reporter archives. So we're providing media lists that don't waste the time of founders and reporters.

By promoting a few simple rules for press outreach, we hope to make life a little simpler and saner for reporters. We hope that in kind, they respect our approach and look kindly upon founders who respect their time and email them with tailored pitches.