This one pains me.
When you say you’re going to do something, like send a review unit, do it.
If you forget you said you were going to send a unit, and you pitch me again a month later, and I remind you of our conversation, and you say, sorry, I’ll really send it this time, then really send it.
If, a month after that, having neither sent the product nor checked in, you pitch me again as if we’ve never spoken, you do not get to say, when I remind you of our first and second conversations, “I requested a sample and am sorry to hear it did not arrive.”
There is no recovery from this.
The back of Bizzy founder Gadi Shamia's business card.
If you’re pitching a mobile product (and who isn’t?), keep in mind that journalists are highly mobile users, too. Make it easy for them to check out whatever it is you’re selling. Put a QR code with a link to the site or the app download on your business card.
More business card tips:
A CES tip: Don’t invite me to your daytime press conference and not to your big evening party. What, you thought I didn’t know about the party? I know.
At a working dinner (like an awards banquet or evening panel discussion), don’t seat all the journalists together. You’ll get more coverage if you actually put us in proximity to the people we get paid to talk to.
That said, the good journalists will ignore or hack the seating plans anyway. So, never mind.
Before you send me an email asking, “Are you familiar with…” the CEO you’re representing, and definitely before you tell me how smart he is as if I’ve never heard of him, you might want to make sure that I haven’t recently produced and published an in-depth face-to-face video interview with him.
You don’t get to choose your reporter. If you pitch a story to a particular reporter at a publication, and it’s bounced to another, and maybe even another after that, then talk to the new person. If you try to hang on to the person you sent the pitch to, first, it won’t work, and second, you’ll annoy the person who actually is doing the story.
If you pitch me, and I’m grumpy or dismissive, don’t be a wuss and then not follow up as you said you would. Reporters (well, me anyway) put up walls to ward off amateurs and those who don’t really care about their story. It’s a test. One of many.
If you have an issue with a story, don’t whine to the writer about how you’re getting “hammered” by your client about it. We don’t care (usually). And it’s part of your job. So suck it up. Just say what the issue is and let’s move on from there.
If I tell you that your pitch is for a topic outside of my coverage area, believe it. No amount of wheedling is going to magically change my job description and get me to cover your company or product. However, if you maintain your composure, you might get a referral to another writer who does cover your area.
It’s sad when a PR person makes me want to cover a company less. But it’s not my job to tell company execs when they’re getting screwed by their reps. Advice to CEOs and internal marketing people: Don’t cede your media relationships to your contractors.