A private note to PR people

Instead of cleaning up their industry and getting rid of all the people who send me bad pitches, the industry has gone on attack. Shel Holtz has one of the kinder versions of this attack.

This is why I got out of the news business and why I don’t care anymore about getting on Digg or Techmeme. Many PR people have an entitlement attitude. “We will get you to cover our products one way or another.”

Shel: of course journalists want you to pitch them on email. Out of 1000 pitches 995 are crappy. I sure wouldn’t want to get 995 crappy pitches on my phone. Or 995 crappy pitches face-to-face. Email is the most efficient place to get crappy pitches. Actually that’s not true. Twitter is a far better place for crappy pitches. Why? Because they are limited to 140 characters (which actually greatly improves your chances — only 237 out of 1,000 pitches on Twitter are crappy).

I was wrong, though, to paint every PR person with the “PR sucks” brush. There are good ones. I do read every PR pitch, even the crappy ones. Of course I was being obstinate. This is blowback because I get so many crappy pitches for so many things I don’t care about.

I am not the first to ask PR people to both send me better pitches and to not do it in email. Dan Gillmor, a real professional journalist (who worked for the San Jose Mercury News and who was instrumental in getting the DOJ to go after Microsoft) said that long before I did. Back when he did that I didn’t pay attention because the PR industry hadn’t yet started sending me lots of lame pitches. I should have paid more attention. Today Gillmor is no longer a journalist. Note what his contact page says “don’t pitch me.” After being a blogger or journalist many people feel the same way. I have lots of meetings with journalists and they always gripe about the PR pitches they get. Why? Because this industry won’t clean itself up and won’t look at what it’s doing as being caustic. Even good ones like Shel Holtz won’t look internally.

Why is this a private note? Well, my readers don’t care so I wanted to let them know they can just skip this one. They just want me to find the coolest stuff in the industry to hear about and get my video camera in front of them. They don’t care about the private hell that has become my email inbox.

Yesterday I got videos of friendfeed’s press conference. Notice that they did pitch me in email, but pitched me to come to that event. Also note that friendfeed doesn’t have a PR person, they already have my attention so no need to pay $10,000 a month to get more of it. See, if your company is good it’ll probably get my attention anyway. Heck, Zappos has never pitched me (that’s a shoe company) but I am interested in that company because so many of the people I follow praise them. That’s also how I found Feedly and Evernote, two companies I like a lot.

So, how do good PR people pitch me? They do send me email. But they build a relationship with me first and find out what I like to write about. One example? Jeremy Toeman. He tells me all the time that he has clients he doesn’t pitch to me because they aren’t going to be interesting to me or my readers. He protects his relationship with me from crappy pitches.

Because Jeremy both knows me as a person and doesn’t send me tons of crappy PR pitches, when he sends me email I listen. He doesn’t just send me pitches for his own company, either. If I’ve missed something interesting he calls me and says “did you see this?” He regularly tweets the same and blogs things that I need to be aware of (sometimes even calling me on the carpet when I’m off base).

But the other interesting thing is he rarely pitches his company in email. His best pitches come when we’re walking around Golden Gate park with our kids. Or, like when he launched his new company recently, when we’re just sitting around his house (that’s why I almost always am carrying a video camera).

So, Shel, and all the other PR people, keep sending me your crappy (and good) pitches to scobleizer@gmail.com. If you think you really have something awesome, don’t email me. Call me. My phone number is on my blog. +1-425-205-1921 It’s been there for four years now. I don’t mind getting calls from people who really have something great to show me.

What do I care about now? People and companies who are fanatical about building a better Internet.

If I can’t take your call (today I’m in meetings all day, for instance). I’ll call you back when I can. Thanks and sorry if you felt attacked by my broad brushes. If you have a blog and a Twitter account you probably aren’t among the bad ones anyway so don’t stick up so much for the bad ones because that tarnishes the good work you do.

Comments

  1. The execution isn’t great, but I actually like ‘Help a Reporter Out’: http://www.helpareporter.com/. It seems like an effective needs-based model, where journalists/bloggers/authors et al submit requests about stories they’re working on, and PR people send (theoretically) appropriate pitches.

    I’ve been on both sides of this tool, and it’s worked out pretty well. As an author, I got some crappy pitches, but at least they were filtered through the lens of my specific needs.

  2. The execution isn’t great, but I actually like ‘Help a Reporter Out’: http://www.helpareporter.com/. It seems like an effective needs-based model, where journalists/bloggers/authors et al submit requests about stories they’re working on, and PR people send (theoretically) appropriate pitches.

    I’ve been on both sides of this tool, and it’s worked out pretty well. As an author, I got some crappy pitches, but at least they were filtered through the lens of my specific needs.

  3. Good, honest and to the point. Things I’ve said and experienced for years, from the ‘inside’ — I suspect all we can do is post calm, patient missives like this and keep doing our jobs the right way. Keep up the good work, man.

  4. Good, honest and to the point. Things I’ve said and experienced for years, from the ‘inside’ — I suspect all we can do is post calm, patient missives like this and keep doing our jobs the right way. Keep up the good work, man.

  5. Hi Robert,

    I’ve been a naughty boy.
    You see I’m not a PR person but I read this post anyway.

    I apologize, but it was worth it.

    I dunno why, but this post kinda reminds me of the lessons folded in to the folk-tale about the boy who cried “Wolf!”…

    : )
    Cheers,
    Mike
    “I tweet @pop_art & @headup”

  6. Hi Robert,

    I’ve been a naughty boy.
    You see I’m not a PR person but I read this post anyway.

    I apologize, but it was worth it.

    I dunno why, but this post kinda reminds me of the lessons folded in to the folk-tale about the boy who cried “Wolf!”…

    : )
    Cheers,
    Mike
    “I tweet @pop_art & @headup”

  7. I found this story on the path from Twitter to Friendfeed to your blog.

    Yes we have pitched you Robert – but it has always been by phone and never through a PR person (that I know of :)

    But I can see where you are coming from because I get pitched and I know how it feels. When you are a visible company that creates companies and people see you cranking along in this economy they call with ideas and their own pitches.

    About 5% of the pitches I get are worth listening to. There is a good book by Paul Gillin – Secrets of Social Media and it has section on how to build the relationship with bloggers & others. I highly recommend that book even though no one should have to tell you how to build a relationship- I thought we learned that in kindergarten.

    I think it is more the fact that people call or email pitches when it’s convenient for them. When the story hits or your information gets published you don’t hear from them until the next time they want something else.

    I have been following you since your Facebook days of lore and have always wondered about the great Scobelizer and then reached out when we had something to say that had a good level of success already.

    Not saying everyone is perfect but my take is don’t just pitch an idea. The person pitching should be developing the idea and have some success or at least be on the path to success before they pitch.

    But I will say this it is hard to get close to some of the top bloggers & industry pro’s sometimes. Yes, you are different, you have your phone number on your site AND you answer it. But most don’t unfortunately (or fortunately).

    Bottom line have a working model, build the relationship and then talk to the person (forget the pitch).

  8. I found this story on the path from Twitter to Friendfeed to your blog.

    Yes we have pitched you Robert – but it has always been by phone and never through a PR person (that I know of :)

    But I can see where you are coming from because I get pitched and I know how it feels. When you are a visible company that creates companies and people see you cranking along in this economy they call with ideas and their own pitches.

    About 5% of the pitches I get are worth listening to. There is a good book by Paul Gillin – Secrets of Social Media and it has section on how to build the relationship with bloggers & others. I highly recommend that book even though no one should have to tell you how to build a relationship- I thought we learned that in kindergarten.

    I think it is more the fact that people call or email pitches when it’s convenient for them. When the story hits or your information gets published you don’t hear from them until the next time they want something else.

    I have been following you since your Facebook days of lore and have always wondered about the great Scobelizer and then reached out when we had something to say that had a good level of success already.

    Not saying everyone is perfect but my take is don’t just pitch an idea. The person pitching should be developing the idea and have some success or at least be on the path to success before they pitch.

    But I will say this it is hard to get close to some of the top bloggers & industry pro’s sometimes. Yes, you are different, you have your phone number on your site AND you answer it. But most don’t unfortunately (or fortunately).

    Bottom line have a working model, build the relationship and then talk to the person (forget the pitch).

  9. Josh Dilworth and Adam Singer are two of the best PR people who get blogging. When I get an e-mail from Josh, there’s a very good chance I’ll cover that company, because he knows what I care about. And he answers e-mail past midnight, which shows he is as nuts as the rest of us.

    Stage Two Consulting (Jeremy Toeman)’s clients aren’t always the ones I am interested in either, but they always are careful… “Louis, I know you don’t usually cover… but…”, etc. so they have my respect.

    PR in today’s world is hard because many still don’t get new media. They aren’t participating, or if they are, it’s tentative. The few that get it right are memorable.

  10. Josh Dilworth and Adam Singer are two of the best PR people who get blogging. When I get an e-mail from Josh, there’s a very good chance I’ll cover that company, because he knows what I care about. And he answers e-mail past midnight, which shows he is as nuts as the rest of us.

    Stage Two Consulting (Jeremy Toeman)’s clients aren’t always the ones I am interested in either, but they always are careful… “Louis, I know you don’t usually cover… but…”, etc. so they have my respect.

    PR in today’s world is hard because many still don’t get new media. They aren’t participating, or if they are, it’s tentative. The few that get it right are memorable.

  11. Loved this article. I am a PR person, but I come from a blogging/social bookmarking background and have a great journalist friend, Daniel Honigman who has regulated a lot of any stupidity I have thought of in terms of pitching/approaches.

    If I don’t think you would be interested in something as a blogger, editor, or my friend: I won’t bother you with it. Seems obvious right? Sadly, I get bad 1 sentence pitches on my blog about PR/Marketing/Social Media. If that isn’t irony, I don’t know what is. Really hoping this changes a lot of people’s approaches.

    (I wrote the # down, but probably won’t have something interesting for you for a while and certainly not before I make an effort to meet you and make a connection.)

  12. Loved this article. I am a PR person, but I come from a blogging/social bookmarking background and have a great journalist friend, Daniel Honigman who has regulated a lot of any stupidity I have thought of in terms of pitching/approaches.

    If I don’t think you would be interested in something as a blogger, editor, or my friend: I won’t bother you with it. Seems obvious right? Sadly, I get bad 1 sentence pitches on my blog about PR/Marketing/Social Media. If that isn’t irony, I don’t know what is. Really hoping this changes a lot of people’s approaches.

    (I wrote the # down, but probably won’t have something interesting for you for a while and certainly not before I make an effort to meet you and make a connection.)

  13. I’ve never been a journalist. I sympathize with the journalist that gets a thousand crappy pitches a day. But as a PR student, I also understand the, “You’ll cover us eventually” sentiment. If a story is good, it will get out, and it might as well be you, xyz journalist, that gets it.

    There is a hierarchical structure to journalists that we must take into account. Once one gets as big as Scoble, they can pick and choose the pitches they like. When you are a starving journalist, I’d imagine you’re more likely to be open to pitches, even crappy ones.

    Bad pitches are here to stay. Hopefully, the new media will end the careers of some of the worst offenders.

    But in the end, I have to laugh at angry journalists’ “I hate PR” diatribes, because after almost every rant, I see an apology.

    Flacks + hacks = bff!

  14. I’ve never been a journalist. I sympathize with the journalist that gets a thousand crappy pitches a day. But as a PR student, I also understand the, “You’ll cover us eventually” sentiment. If a story is good, it will get out, and it might as well be you, xyz journalist, that gets it.

    There is a hierarchical structure to journalists that we must take into account. Once one gets as big as Scoble, they can pick and choose the pitches they like. When you are a starving journalist, I’d imagine you’re more likely to be open to pitches, even crappy ones.

    Bad pitches are here to stay. Hopefully, the new media will end the careers of some of the worst offenders.

    But in the end, I have to laugh at angry journalists’ “I hate PR” diatribes, because after almost every rant, I see an apology.

    Flacks + hacks = bff!

  15. While I agree that the majority of pitches are off target, it’s not always the junior PR person who is to blame. There are too many senior-level PR folks who ask junior staffers to create media lists for their clients…media lists that end up with 100s, even 1,000s of reporters. These senior PR folks do not review the list, they just write the pitch and tell the staff to email away. They feel they are doing their client a service by reaching out to as many journalists as possible, hoping that one or two will like the pitch. Kind of like throwing spaghetti against the wall…doesn’t work.

    That is how I was taught, but that is not how I practice.

    Now at a more senior level myself, I dig through all media lists my staff creates for me. After filtering out the poorly selected targets, I draft bullet points for the pitch. I ask my junior staff and interns to read the past few articles written by the journalist and create their own personal and targeted pitch. This takes more time, but it gets results and builds relationships. Isn’t relationship building what it’s all about?

  16. While I agree that the majority of pitches are off target, it’s not always the junior PR person who is to blame. There are too many senior-level PR folks who ask junior staffers to create media lists for their clients…media lists that end up with 100s, even 1,000s of reporters. These senior PR folks do not review the list, they just write the pitch and tell the staff to email away. They feel they are doing their client a service by reaching out to as many journalists as possible, hoping that one or two will like the pitch. Kind of like throwing spaghetti against the wall…doesn’t work.

    That is how I was taught, but that is not how I practice.

    Now at a more senior level myself, I dig through all media lists my staff creates for me. After filtering out the poorly selected targets, I draft bullet points for the pitch. I ask my junior staff and interns to read the past few articles written by the journalist and create their own personal and targeted pitch. This takes more time, but it gets results and builds relationships. Isn’t relationship building what it’s all about?

  17. Robert, couldn’t agree more. The best thing any PR person can do is build a relationship with a blogger/reporter rather than cold-pitching. PR is a lot like sales, in that respect – cold calling the most intrusive and least effective way to do it.

    And the relationship doesn’t have to be face to face (although if it is, all the better). A great case in point back from when I was doing proper news journalism is Steve Rubel. Steve had commented on my blog, emailed me an introduction telling me who he was and what he covered, and generally tried to engage with me, my beat, and my interests.

    So when he finally had something to pitch, I was more than ready to listen – I knew Steve well enough to know that he wasn’t going to be wasting my time. And, just as important, he knew *me* well enough to know that talking to me wasn’t wasting his client’s time, either.

    In fact, I think it would be a great follow-up to this post to list more people like Steve – PR people who are doing things the right way, and doing not only their clients a service, but the whole PR/press/media industry.

  18. Robert, couldn’t agree more. The best thing any PR person can do is build a relationship with a blogger/reporter rather than cold-pitching. PR is a lot like sales, in that respect – cold calling the most intrusive and least effective way to do it.

    And the relationship doesn’t have to be face to face (although if it is, all the better). A great case in point back from when I was doing proper news journalism is Steve Rubel. Steve had commented on my blog, emailed me an introduction telling me who he was and what he covered, and generally tried to engage with me, my beat, and my interests.

    So when he finally had something to pitch, I was more than ready to listen – I knew Steve well enough to know that he wasn’t going to be wasting my time. And, just as important, he knew *me* well enough to know that talking to me wasn’t wasting his client’s time, either.

    In fact, I think it would be a great follow-up to this post to list more people like Steve – PR people who are doing things the right way, and doing not only their clients a service, but the whole PR/press/media industry.

  19. I’m a PR person, and generally find the hating on my profession tiresome and insulting–while there are definitely some practitioners who give the whole industry a bad name, there are many of us who respect bloggers and journalists, immerse ourselves in our clients’ industries and really try to come up with compelling, valuable, tailored ideas rather than spam/garbage.

    However, I found this post constructive and insightful. I’ve never pitched you, Robert, because I’ve never had a client that would knock your socks off. When I do, I’ll be sure to call and make it an exchange of (hopefully interesting) information rather than just a one-way pitch. In the meantime, I’m all over your blog and tweets, not because I want something from you, but because they’re interesting and relevant.

  20. I’m a PR person, and generally find the hating on my profession tiresome and insulting–while there are definitely some practitioners who give the whole industry a bad name, there are many of us who respect bloggers and journalists, immerse ourselves in our clients’ industries and really try to come up with compelling, valuable, tailored ideas rather than spam/garbage.

    However, I found this post constructive and insightful. I’ve never pitched you, Robert, because I’ve never had a client that would knock your socks off. When I do, I’ll be sure to call and make it an exchange of (hopefully interesting) information rather than just a one-way pitch. In the meantime, I’m all over your blog and tweets, not because I want something from you, but because they’re interesting and relevant.

  21. You really expect an entire industry to keep up with your ever-changing attention span? But never mind all that, just be your own investigator, PR is for spoon-fed blogger rewriters, whole networks of that.

    Actually the wise PR person wouldn’t even pitch you at all, being “fanatical” about keeping you out of the loop, being that your track record is the picture-perfect Reverse Midas Touch.

    How’s Gillbore’s Citizen Journalism working? Oh right, crash and burn.

  22. You really expect an entire industry to keep up with your ever-changing attention span? But never mind all that, just be your own investigator, PR is for spoon-fed blogger rewriters, whole networks of that.

    Actually the wise PR person wouldn’t even pitch you at all, being “fanatical” about keeping you out of the loop, being that your track record is the picture-perfect Reverse Midas Touch.

    How’s Gillbore’s Citizen Journalism working? Oh right, crash and burn.

  23. “PR Types” and most journalists don’t get it, and probably won’t get it anytime soon. the PR fakeness and pushyness culture was only working because people did not have access to information, so it was easy to mislead them, executive leaders are already talking directly to customers via twitter, I don’t even read press releases any more because they are not useful for anything other than making some PR person justify their existence

  24. “PR Types” and most journalists don’t get it, and probably won’t get it anytime soon. the PR fakeness and pushyness culture was only working because people did not have access to information, so it was easy to mislead them, executive leaders are already talking directly to customers via twitter, I don’t even read press releases any more because they are not useful for anything other than making some PR person justify their existence

  25. Good points here… from the PR perspective, I think the biggest issue is the daunting task of actually maintaining your relationships without feeling like you’re just kicking around to eventually get a story.

    I do my best to stay in touch with trade media, which in our industry (video games) is a massive number of people. Add on consumer media and bloggers, and I could probably spend my whole day building those relationships. So then it comes down to the occasional email or call, which I can only assume come across as desperate attempts at maintaining a relationship in hopes of landing a story when the time comes.

    As I’m fairly removed from industry hotspots (being in Canada and all) I also don’t have the benefit of being able to meet face-to-face with writers on a regular basis. And then when I do get to meet with them or talk to them on the phone or even exchange emails, it’s like “who are you again?” and that discussion itself can become a bit challenging. I can only rely on my charm to take me so far… and I find that journalists can often seem a bit icy when being pitched, even if I’ve tried to uphold a cordial relationship.

  26. Good points here… from the PR perspective, I think the biggest issue is the daunting task of actually maintaining your relationships without feeling like you’re just kicking around to eventually get a story.

    I do my best to stay in touch with trade media, which in our industry (video games) is a massive number of people. Add on consumer media and bloggers, and I could probably spend my whole day building those relationships. So then it comes down to the occasional email or call, which I can only assume come across as desperate attempts at maintaining a relationship in hopes of landing a story when the time comes.

    As I’m fairly removed from industry hotspots (being in Canada and all) I also don’t have the benefit of being able to meet face-to-face with writers on a regular basis. And then when I do get to meet with them or talk to them on the phone or even exchange emails, it’s like “who are you again?” and that discussion itself can become a bit challenging. I can only rely on my charm to take me so far… and I find that journalists can often seem a bit icy when being pitched, even if I’ve tried to uphold a cordial relationship.

  27. Thank you for the quick, yet direct education.

    I will give you a call sometime, when I have something important to share.

  28. Thank you for the quick, yet direct education.

    I will give you a call sometime, when I have something important to share.

  29. Robert,

    Don’t you feel that PR is largely responsible for convincing brands that you have influence and haven’t you benefited tremendously from this? As a PR person, I understand the why bad practitioners can taint a whole segment of the marketing community but I see a pretty clear benefit that seems to justify a few bloggers spending a few minutes each day cleaning out their inbox. If you look at the position PR people are in, we’re often pushing our clients to become better communicators, which, in the long run, will alleviate some of this burden on the journalist side. A lot of the news you get and probably enjoy is a direct result of PR people pushing for it to be released. There is good marketing and bad marketing across the board but I think the benefit of PR is fairly clear when you get past some basic annoyances.

  30. Robert,

    Don’t you feel that PR is largely responsible for convincing brands that you have influence and haven’t you benefited tremendously from this? As a PR person, I understand the why bad practitioners can taint a whole segment of the marketing community but I see a pretty clear benefit that seems to justify a few bloggers spending a few minutes each day cleaning out their inbox. If you look at the position PR people are in, we’re often pushing our clients to become better communicators, which, in the long run, will alleviate some of this burden on the journalist side. A lot of the news you get and probably enjoy is a direct result of PR people pushing for it to be released. There is good marketing and bad marketing across the board but I think the benefit of PR is fairly clear when you get past some basic annoyances.

  31. Interesting aspect of journalism. This warrants a bit more research on how to get the word out about a new service/product/whatever.
    Sometimes I wonder why people are not too lazy to send hundreds of badly written pitches that are certain to get no attention at all when they could spend the same effort to write something really noteworthy and pitch it to only 20 people of which a much higher number would respond in a positive manner.

  32. Interesting aspect of journalism. This warrants a bit more research on how to get the word out about a new service/product/whatever.
    Sometimes I wonder why people are not too lazy to send hundreds of badly written pitches that are certain to get no attention at all when they could spend the same effort to write something really noteworthy and pitch it to only 20 people of which a much higher number would respond in a positive manner.

  33. Robert, of all your cool insights and suggestions above, I most appreciate and understand your passion for developing relationships where the dialogue and brainstorming will help us find out how far we can go with social media. As a College of Business lecturer at San Francisco State, I, too, am thrilled to think that so many of my juniors and seniors will help sculpt future marketing and communication strategies, techniques, and tools. And I look forward to having them meet you and get a view of this “revolution” from the inside.

  34. Robert, of all your cool insights and suggestions above, I most appreciate and understand your passion for developing relationships where the dialogue and brainstorming will help us find out how far we can go with social media. As a College of Business lecturer at San Francisco State, I, too, am thrilled to think that so many of my juniors and seniors will help sculpt future marketing and communication strategies, techniques, and tools. And I look forward to having them meet you and get a view of this “revolution” from the inside.

  35. As a former journalist who now works in marketing (including public relations activities) for my company, I can see both sides.

    I think you make a good point that building a relationship is part of good PR efforts. It’s fairly foolish to expect someone who has a significant audience to write about you, simply because you want them to.

    Simply pushing your pitch out (which is still likely to happen, honestly) without pointing out other things you might find interesting (i.e. other big pieces of news that might not’ve come around yet) is foolhardy and a bit high on the expectations side.

    Bottom line though, is that PR does serve a purpose – and the reality is that the liaison role that many PR practitioners play can make the lives on either side of them (corporate and journalist) easier, if done right.

    Follow me @G5SMarketing (see how I did that?)

  36. As a former journalist who now works in marketing (including public relations activities) for my company, I can see both sides.

    I think you make a good point that building a relationship is part of good PR efforts. It’s fairly foolish to expect someone who has a significant audience to write about you, simply because you want them to.

    Simply pushing your pitch out (which is still likely to happen, honestly) without pointing out other things you might find interesting (i.e. other big pieces of news that might not’ve come around yet) is foolhardy and a bit high on the expectations side.

    Bottom line though, is that PR does serve a purpose – and the reality is that the liaison role that many PR practitioners play can make the lives on either side of them (corporate and journalist) easier, if done right.

    Follow me @G5SMarketing (see how I did that?)

  37. Robert,

    As a current PR student, I understand exactly what you mean. It seems to be common sense that if you put together a generic pitch and throw it out there for the world, then it should be ignored. I definitely enjoy researching bloggers and journalists in order to find out the topics covered and whether or not a pitch would benefit from being

    To me, the goal of a pitch has to be more than simply being newsworthy. Not only should the client benefit from having the pitch reported, but the journalist or blogger should benefit from reporting on such an intriguing topic. It has to be something pretty revolutionary, or else it just falls into the label of ordinary, and nobody wants to report on the ordinary.

    It becomes the job of the PR people to realize when a client’s story needs to be told and then figure out who it needs to be told to. Research is a huge part of the profession and it’s sad how often it is not utilized.

  38. Robert,

    As a current PR student, I understand exactly what you mean. It seems to be common sense that if you put together a generic pitch and throw it out there for the world, then it should be ignored. I definitely enjoy researching bloggers and journalists in order to find out the topics covered and whether or not a pitch would benefit from being

    To me, the goal of a pitch has to be more than simply being newsworthy. Not only should the client benefit from having the pitch reported, but the journalist or blogger should benefit from reporting on such an intriguing topic. It has to be something pretty revolutionary, or else it just falls into the label of ordinary, and nobody wants to report on the ordinary.

    It becomes the job of the PR people to realize when a client’s story needs to be told and then figure out who it needs to be told to. Research is a huge part of the profession and it’s sad how often it is not utilized.

  39. “…His best pitches come when we’re walking around Golden Gate park with our kids. Or, like when he launched his new company recently, when we’re just sitting around his house (that’s why I almost always am carrying a video camera).”

    Gee, Robert. That’s great. So what you’re saying here is that the best way to get your attention is to hang out with you in San Francisco?

    Here’s the deal:

    1. I’m a PR guy, but it’s doubtful I’d ever pitch something to you ’cause your interests don’t mesh with my organization’s.
    2. I understand you get a pile of crap pitches. But you are, for better or worse, an 800-pound gorilla (no offense intended to you or to gorillas). Do you not think that this happens in many fields — that Random House gets a million shitty books sent to it? That TV stations get shitty clip reels?
    3. We can’t all “build magical experiences” that result in “magical media” all the time. Some of what we do is just not that magical.
    4. You’re conflating “PR” with “media relations” or with “media/blogger relations”. I work on internal communications, on web content development, and on a dozen other things on a daily basis.
    5. Let’s say, for example, that my employer, a college in Ontario, comes up with a super cool idea or application of technology that DOES seem like something Scoble-worthy. Are you honestly suggesting that the best thing for me to do would be to book a flight from Ottawa to San Fran and have dinner with you? Maybe I should bring along the students and faculty — I’m sure the travel expenses wouldn’t draw a second glance.
    6. I think your vision of PR is limited and naive, and very tightly constrained to your particular circumstances.

    Respectfully,
    Bob LeDrew

  40. “…His best pitches come when we’re walking around Golden Gate park with our kids. Or, like when he launched his new company recently, when we’re just sitting around his house (that’s why I almost always am carrying a video camera).”

    Gee, Robert. That’s great. So what you’re saying here is that the best way to get your attention is to hang out with you in San Francisco?

    Here’s the deal:

    1. I’m a PR guy, but it’s doubtful I’d ever pitch something to you ’cause your interests don’t mesh with my organization’s.
    2. I understand you get a pile of crap pitches. But you are, for better or worse, an 800-pound gorilla (no offense intended to you or to gorillas). Do you not think that this happens in many fields — that Random House gets a million shitty books sent to it? That TV stations get shitty clip reels?
    3. We can’t all “build magical experiences” that result in “magical media” all the time. Some of what we do is just not that magical.
    4. You’re conflating “PR” with “media relations” or with “media/blogger relations”. I work on internal communications, on web content development, and on a dozen other things on a daily basis.
    5. Let’s say, for example, that my employer, a college in Ontario, comes up with a super cool idea or application of technology that DOES seem like something Scoble-worthy. Are you honestly suggesting that the best thing for me to do would be to book a flight from Ottawa to San Fran and have dinner with you? Maybe I should bring along the students and faculty — I’m sure the travel expenses wouldn’t draw a second glance.
    6. I think your vision of PR is limited and naive, and very tightly constrained to your particular circumstances.

    Respectfully,
    Bob LeDrew

  41. Robert,

    Thanks for clarifying your thoughts. Keeping each journalist’s individual preferences straight is not easy but it is the price of doing good PR.

    You have been officially added to my cell phone. ;-0

    Serena

  42. Robert,

    Thanks for clarifying your thoughts. Keeping each journalist’s individual preferences straight is not easy but it is the price of doing good PR.

    You have been officially added to my cell phone. ;-0

    Serena

  43. But his vision of EVERYTHING is limited and naive, and very tightly constrained to his particular circumstances. But he’s not alone, almost a 80 mile radius around Frisco, bubbles ahoy.

  44. But his vision of EVERYTHING is limited and naive, and very tightly constrained to his particular circumstances. But he’s not alone, almost a 80 mile radius around Frisco, bubbles ahoy.

  45. Bravo! You’re saying what all of us are thinking. Congrats. I still want to know why you’re green. ;)

  46. Bravo! You’re saying what all of us are thinking. Congrats. I still want to know why you’re green. ;)

  47. Thank you for this, Robert. On most issues, it seems we agree.

    At the very beginning of your post, though, you suggest that the profession “get rid of all the people who send me bad pitches.” If you have a proposal for how the profession can do this, I’m all ears. There is no license required to practice PR. Anybody can hang out a shingle and accept clients, from the highly principled and ethical who strive to behave professionally to sleazebags with no training who are looking to make a fast buck.

    The companies that employ the latter support the latter. And there is no shortage of clients to fuel their efforts.

    The profession has been vocal in its opposition to PR spam. From the major associations (IABC, PRSA, CPRS, IPR, etc.) to individual voices (Todd Defren, Doug Haslam, Neville Hobson, myself) to industry leaders (Richard Edelman, Dave Senay), the message has focused on intelligent outreach, not mindless, clueless pitching. If you read my blog and listened to my podcast, you’d know that it’s unfair to suggest that I don’t look internally. It’s in fact something of a litany on my part to make the case against PR spam.

    At the end of the day, though, advocacy is the only tool available. The profession can’t “get rid” of anybody.

    This is exactly the same situation I faced in the mid-1970s when I was receiving exactly the same flood of brainless pitches in the form of press releases and pitches delivered by the Post Office. I could easily fill a large trash can in a single morning going through that mail.

    As I noted in my post, it’s the same in virtually other line of work, just more visible in the world of PR.

    I can assure you that the associations, leaders, and others will continue to push for the adoption of the very best practices in reaching out to people like you. As I said, if you have an idea about how to “get rid” of those who just don’t care, I’d love to hear it.

    Finally, I don’t believe I’ve ever sent you a crappy pitch, probably because I’ve never pitched you at all. If memory serves, I’ve never had a client whose story would have been of any interest to you.

  48. Thank you for this, Robert. On most issues, it seems we agree.

    At the very beginning of your post, though, you suggest that the profession “get rid of all the people who send me bad pitches.” If you have a proposal for how the profession can do this, I’m all ears. There is no license required to practice PR. Anybody can hang out a shingle and accept clients, from the highly principled and ethical who strive to behave professionally to sleazebags with no training who are looking to make a fast buck.

    The companies that employ the latter support the latter. And there is no shortage of clients to fuel their efforts.

    The profession has been vocal in its opposition to PR spam. From the major associations (IABC, PRSA, CPRS, IPR, etc.) to individual voices (Todd Defren, Doug Haslam, Neville Hobson, myself) to industry leaders (Richard Edelman, Dave Senay), the message has focused on intelligent outreach, not mindless, clueless pitching. If you read my blog and listened to my podcast, you’d know that it’s unfair to suggest that I don’t look internally. It’s in fact something of a litany on my part to make the case against PR spam.

    At the end of the day, though, advocacy is the only tool available. The profession can’t “get rid” of anybody.

    This is exactly the same situation I faced in the mid-1970s when I was receiving exactly the same flood of brainless pitches in the form of press releases and pitches delivered by the Post Office. I could easily fill a large trash can in a single morning going through that mail.

    As I noted in my post, it’s the same in virtually other line of work, just more visible in the world of PR.

    I can assure you that the associations, leaders, and others will continue to push for the adoption of the very best practices in reaching out to people like you. As I said, if you have an idea about how to “get rid” of those who just don’t care, I’d love to hear it.

    Finally, I don’t believe I’ve ever sent you a crappy pitch, probably because I’ve never pitched you at all. If memory serves, I’ve never had a client whose story would have been of any interest to you.

  49. Since Shel invoked my name (and I work with Todd Defren, whom he also mentioned), i might as well weigh in.

    In my 10 years in PR– after a decade on the journalism side- not a month has gone by without some reporter/editor/columnist/freelance writer/blogger/podcaster complaining about spam pitches. As Shel says, as much as we would like to stamp them out, the bad PR people keep coming up because someone is feeding them.

    What I would ask of PR people is 2 things:

    1) when someone pops off about PR spam, let them vent and don’t get too worked up. If you’re good, they’re not talking about you, if you’re a scumbag you won’t care. Let the catharsis happen and we’ll all hope that someone is drawn over to the good side by one rant or another.

    2) Pay attention to the practical information. Throughout all this, Robert, you have told people how you preferred to be pitched. As far as getting our job done, that’s the end of the story. Make good pitches, do them in the way the “target” (sorry) wants them, and build a relationship with same as a good source.

    all readers and commenters: I think Robert knows his stature has made him a target for all sorts of pitches. He’s entitled to bitch about the crappy ones– I, for one, don;t take that as an attack on my industry. What I see is a common enemy. Unfortunately, there’s a reason I liken them to cockroaches (and as someone above pointed out, it’s not all the Sally smile-and-dials, but often their managers who are to blame).

  50. Since Shel invoked my name (and I work with Todd Defren, whom he also mentioned), i might as well weigh in.

    In my 10 years in PR– after a decade on the journalism side- not a month has gone by without some reporter/editor/columnist/freelance writer/blogger/podcaster complaining about spam pitches. As Shel says, as much as we would like to stamp them out, the bad PR people keep coming up because someone is feeding them.

    What I would ask of PR people is 2 things:

    1) when someone pops off about PR spam, let them vent and don’t get too worked up. If you’re good, they’re not talking about you, if you’re a scumbag you won’t care. Let the catharsis happen and we’ll all hope that someone is drawn over to the good side by one rant or another.

    2) Pay attention to the practical information. Throughout all this, Robert, you have told people how you preferred to be pitched. As far as getting our job done, that’s the end of the story. Make good pitches, do them in the way the “target” (sorry) wants them, and build a relationship with same as a good source.

    all readers and commenters: I think Robert knows his stature has made him a target for all sorts of pitches. He’s entitled to bitch about the crappy ones– I, for one, don;t take that as an attack on my industry. What I see is a common enemy. Unfortunately, there’s a reason I liken them to cockroaches (and as someone above pointed out, it’s not all the Sally smile-and-dials, but often their managers who are to blame).

  51. As a spanking new blogger, would you ever consider publishing all the really bad pitches? Better yet,send them to me so I can put up an American idol style blog of really bad pitches. It might be fun to vote on the best of the worst retarded ideas. Thanks

  52. As a spanking new blogger, would you ever consider publishing all the really bad pitches? Better yet,send them to me so I can put up an American idol style blog of really bad pitches. It might be fun to vote on the best of the worst retarded ideas. Thanks

  53. Broad strokes for sure, but lessons to be learned in this post, in Shel’s and in the comments on both posts.

    Most importantly, don’t screw up the relationship with a pitch. A pitch is not worth screwing up any relationship. The media that you have a long track record of delivering good story ideas to will be more forgiving if you miss the mark, but a crappy pitch to a reporter you don’t have any relationship with is a sure fire way to short circuit any chance of one in the beginning.

    As a manager, I stress this all the time.

    It’s unfortunate yes, clients come and go, but good and bad relationships with media will last your entire career in the business. And now, everyone will know.

    Mike Lizun
    http://www.twitter.com/mikelizun

  54. Broad strokes for sure, but lessons to be learned in this post, in Shel’s and in the comments on both posts.

    Most importantly, don’t screw up the relationship with a pitch. A pitch is not worth screwing up any relationship. The media that you have a long track record of delivering good story ideas to will be more forgiving if you miss the mark, but a crappy pitch to a reporter you don’t have any relationship with is a sure fire way to short circuit any chance of one in the beginning.

    As a manager, I stress this all the time.

    It’s unfortunate yes, clients come and go, but good and bad relationships with media will last your entire career in the business. And now, everyone will know.

    Mike Lizun
    http://www.twitter.com/mikelizun

  55. @Eugene, there’s already a Bad Pitch Blog — http://badpitch.blogspot.com/ — managed by a pair of PR professionals who, like so many others in the business, are trying to drive communicators away from these behaviors. Richard Laermer and Kevin Dugan have been inviting submission of bad pitches for display on the blog, and they’ll “out” the sender if three of his or her pitches make it onto the blog. In addition to sharing bad pitches, Kevin and Richard use the blog as a platform for advocating good practices.

  56. @Eugene, there’s already a Bad Pitch Blog — http://badpitch.blogspot.com/ — managed by a pair of PR professionals who, like so many others in the business, are trying to drive communicators away from these behaviors. Richard Laermer and Kevin Dugan have been inviting submission of bad pitches for display on the blog, and they’ll “out” the sender if three of his or her pitches make it onto the blog. In addition to sharing bad pitches, Kevin and Richard use the blog as a platform for advocating good practices.

  57. I found this article from Twitter, where quite a few of us comment (good and bad, mostly bad) about PR pitches. In fact, that’s where I got another link to an entire blog dedicated to critiquing PR pitches. This girl Maisie, who is a mommyblogger (gets a lot of pitches) started PR Pass Fail blog http://prfail.blogspot.com/ and is deconstructing the good, the bad and the ugly.

    The difference between this and Bad Pitch Blog that Shel Holtz mentioned is that instead of being run by PR people, it’s the done by a person who is a representative of the people the PR people are trying to reach.

    I confess I submitted a good pitch on her mail in offer.

    I totally agree, defensive is not the way to go. Learning and improving is.

    Great article.

  58. I found this article from Twitter, where quite a few of us comment (good and bad, mostly bad) about PR pitches. In fact, that’s where I got another link to an entire blog dedicated to critiquing PR pitches. This girl Maisie, who is a mommyblogger (gets a lot of pitches) started PR Pass Fail blog http://prfail.blogspot.com/ and is deconstructing the good, the bad and the ugly.

    The difference between this and Bad Pitch Blog that Shel Holtz mentioned is that instead of being run by PR people, it’s the done by a person who is a representative of the people the PR people are trying to reach.

    I confess I submitted a good pitch on her mail in offer.

    I totally agree, defensive is not the way to go. Learning and improving is.

    Great article.

  59. Great post. I think the main take away is news is in the eye of the beholder. You cannot make a particular journalist cover your story if they do not believe it has intrinsic news value for their audience. Spamming or harassing journalists is not the answer whether it is online or traditional news media outlets. Study your target, if your news doesn’t fit their style, beat or audience, move on.

    By the way I took Mr. Scoble up on his advice and called him with a personal pitch about what Century 21 is doing in the social media space. Will he call back? We’ll see, but I took the time to learn his preferences and appeal to the subject matter he covers with what I believe is a legitimate story that his readership would find interesting. It’s not rocket science. Study the sender – channel – message and receiver.

    Love your post too Shel. Great stuff. I’m reading your book Tactical Transparency now and applying its lessons in my efforts. John Havens gave me a copy this week.

    Regards,

    Matt Gentile, Director, PR
    Century 21 Real Estate LLC

  60. Great post. I think the main take away is news is in the eye of the beholder. You cannot make a particular journalist cover your story if they do not believe it has intrinsic news value for their audience. Spamming or harassing journalists is not the answer whether it is online or traditional news media outlets. Study your target, if your news doesn’t fit their style, beat or audience, move on.

    By the way I took Mr. Scoble up on his advice and called him with a personal pitch about what Century 21 is doing in the social media space. Will he call back? We’ll see, but I took the time to learn his preferences and appeal to the subject matter he covers with what I believe is a legitimate story that his readership would find interesting. It’s not rocket science. Study the sender – channel – message and receiver.

    Love your post too Shel. Great stuff. I’m reading your book Tactical Transparency now and applying its lessons in my efforts. John Havens gave me a copy this week.

    Regards,

    Matt Gentile, Director, PR
    Century 21 Real Estate LLC

  61. Robert (and Shel) –

    As you may know, there are many PR pros who empathize with Scoble and all journalists frustrated and angered by the amount of misguided PR pitches that flood their “in boxes.”

    The issue stems from the way in which PR people typically go about the task of identifying journalists to pitch. For the most part, they use a media database company to find the title or beats that seem to make sense. With that list in hand, those (hopefully) appropriate journalists end up on the receiving end of some blast e-mail, masked as if the recipient is the only one getting it.

    This common (and bad) practice has to change in order for PR people to regain their value in the reporting process.

    Last night, at the New York Tech Meet-up DEMO (#NYTM) event, I had the chance to demo a new search application that tackles this problem with an entirely different approach.

    Instead of job titles, MatchPoint (www.prmatchpoint.com) matches the journalist’s cumulative BODY OF WORK with the PR person’s search query (i.e., news release, pitch letter, keywords). Using a database of 200K+ journalists and 4.5 million articles, the search results are a ranked listing of those journalists who are most editorially relevant to the pitch.

    While MatchPoint will never replace lazy PR people, we believe it’s a step in the right direction toward eliminating PR SPAM.

    Peter HImler
    Principal, Flatiron Communications LLC
    http://www.flatironcomm.com
    http://theflack.blogspot.com
    http://www.prmatchpoint.com

  62. Robert (and Shel) –

    As you may know, there are many PR pros who empathize with Scoble and all journalists frustrated and angered by the amount of misguided PR pitches that flood their “in boxes.”

    The issue stems from the way in which PR people typically go about the task of identifying journalists to pitch. For the most part, they use a media database company to find the title or beats that seem to make sense. With that list in hand, those (hopefully) appropriate journalists end up on the receiving end of some blast e-mail, masked as if the recipient is the only one getting it.

    This common (and bad) practice has to change in order for PR people to regain their value in the reporting process.

    Last night, at the New York Tech Meet-up DEMO (#NYTM) event, I had the chance to demo a new search application that tackles this problem with an entirely different approach.

    Instead of job titles, MatchPoint (www.prmatchpoint.com) matches the journalist’s cumulative BODY OF WORK with the PR person’s search query (i.e., news release, pitch letter, keywords). Using a database of 200K+ journalists and 4.5 million articles, the search results are a ranked listing of those journalists who are most editorially relevant to the pitch.

    While MatchPoint will never replace lazy PR people, we believe it’s a step in the right direction toward eliminating PR SPAM.

    Peter HImler
    Principal, Flatiron Communications LLC
    http://www.flatironcomm.com
    http://theflack.blogspot.com
    http://www.prmatchpoint.com

  63. Does anyone ever write any “10 awesome pitches I’ve received lately” posts?

    For every 1,000 crappy pitches there are an equal amount of blogs complaining about getting crappy pitches.

    Switch it up some time! Fresh positive angle maybe?

    Just a thought.

    Matt. PR PERSON + JOURNALIST

  64. Does anyone ever write any “10 awesome pitches I’ve received lately” posts?

    For every 1,000 crappy pitches there are an equal amount of blogs complaining about getting crappy pitches.

    Switch it up some time! Fresh positive angle maybe?

    Just a thought.

    Matt. PR PERSON + JOURNALIST

  65. I was planning to take you to the wood shed over your PR People Suck mantra because, well, I don’t like to see my profession painted over with a bad shade of black.

    In defense of the profession there are quite a few of us who do understand that blanket pitches and frankly bad grammar tend to make us all look bad. And quite a few of us don’t use bad practices.

    That being said, I fully agree with a couple of points that you clearly make in this post (a refreshing articulation in comparison to the previous flamestorm). Much of my success in placing stories or promoting a cause has been because I have taken the time to listen, understand and build a relationship.

    First off, no one wants to be the guy who has to make a living cold-calling people to pitch them a story. And secondly, we all know that it is counterproductive. Clients love to see that you’ve talked to everyone in the world and statistics that show you blasted out a message to thousands. PR needs to demonstrate that talking to 10 people versus 10,000 often provides better results.

    So we have a problem in showing results. Coupled with the inexperience of many junior execs who are struggling to show results and you have a lot of crap being sent to Robert Scoble.

    Focused research, taking the time to build a relationship and using tools that strengthen that relationship always trumps the shotgun blast.

    Now, you could improve everyone’s lot in life if you took the time to share what you’re planning on doing next. Not an editorial calendar per se, but a forecast of things on your horizon. Help these young crap stirrers to send peaches your way instead of prunes. Point us to your crystal ball and help us build a relationship.

    Tools like HARO, ProfNet, MatchPoint, MicroPR, et. al., open the doors and allow some insight. They also allow for the building of relationships. These are tools we all should be embracing in our efforrts to improve how PR works and how PR pitches are received by other communicators.

  66. I was planning to take you to the wood shed over your PR People Suck mantra because, well, I don’t like to see my profession painted over with a bad shade of black.

    In defense of the profession there are quite a few of us who do understand that blanket pitches and frankly bad grammar tend to make us all look bad. And quite a few of us don’t use bad practices.

    That being said, I fully agree with a couple of points that you clearly make in this post (a refreshing articulation in comparison to the previous flamestorm). Much of my success in placing stories or promoting a cause has been because I have taken the time to listen, understand and build a relationship.

    First off, no one wants to be the guy who has to make a living cold-calling people to pitch them a story. And secondly, we all know that it is counterproductive. Clients love to see that you’ve talked to everyone in the world and statistics that show you blasted out a message to thousands. PR needs to demonstrate that talking to 10 people versus 10,000 often provides better results.

    So we have a problem in showing results. Coupled with the inexperience of many junior execs who are struggling to show results and you have a lot of crap being sent to Robert Scoble.

    Focused research, taking the time to build a relationship and using tools that strengthen that relationship always trumps the shotgun blast.

    Now, you could improve everyone’s lot in life if you took the time to share what you’re planning on doing next. Not an editorial calendar per se, but a forecast of things on your horizon. Help these young crap stirrers to send peaches your way instead of prunes. Point us to your crystal ball and help us build a relationship.

    Tools like HARO, ProfNet, MatchPoint, MicroPR, et. al., open the doors and allow some insight. They also allow for the building of relationships. These are tools we all should be embracing in our efforrts to improve how PR works and how PR pitches are received by other communicators.

  67. whose story would have been of any interest to you.

    Scoble rants notwithstanding, but that’s the high art of such, making people normally not interested, interested…finding some common linked tie-in. Anyone can target people already prior interested, and it seems anyone and everyone does. If I am covering a TV/Film beat, find a way to pitch me Enterprise software, by saying so and so TV Show is using it to do such and such. Then suddenly I care. See?

  68. whose story would have been of any interest to you.

    Scoble rants notwithstanding, but that’s the high art of such, making people normally not interested, interested…finding some common linked tie-in. Anyone can target people already prior interested, and it seems anyone and everyone does. If I am covering a TV/Film beat, find a way to pitch me Enterprise software, by saying so and so TV Show is using it to do such and such. Then suddenly I care. See?

  69. As someone who’s been a practioner since what seems like the beginning of time I still see/hear horrible approaches and pitches. It’s rampant and it comes from all angles: the client, senior people, and junior people. As recently as five years ago I had a client who came from a worldwide firm ask to see a copy of my “pitch script.’ I didn’t even know what that was.

    And while I’m on my soapbox, don’t we all hate the term “pitch?” Are we telemarketers? I think that’s the mentality of the “smile and dialers.”

    And while I agree with some of the comments, it’s no longer about “relationship building” which will lead to coverage. Clients want results and that’s all there is to it. There’s no patience anymore when companies are running out of money, budgets are being cut to the bone, and startups think that PR will save them. Everyone is demanding metrics regardless of whether it’s old-fashioned, mainstream media relations, analyst relations or social media.

    Think about it, when times are tough what are the first areas within a company that is cut? Marketing and PR.

    So wise up people, this recession is going to be with us for quite awhile. If you want to keep your job then learn how to do your job. Use the tools, use everything in your arsenal to do your job well, but most of all exercise common sense. And please, think about PR as a strategic way to build the client’s business, brand and reputation and not how many “hits” you can get.

    Have I ever pitched Robert in the three or four years that I’ve known him? No. Why not? Because none of my clients have fit into the area he’s interested in hearing about. We see each at conferences, and even sat on a rather goofy panel together once. We have a very nice relationship but I’m not going to pester the poor man.

    Finally, I totally agree with the person who said that good and bad clients come and go, but relationships with media (and bloggers) seem to outlast them all. Why screw those up?

  70. As someone who’s been a practioner since what seems like the beginning of time I still see/hear horrible approaches and pitches. It’s rampant and it comes from all angles: the client, senior people, and junior people. As recently as five years ago I had a client who came from a worldwide firm ask to see a copy of my “pitch script.’ I didn’t even know what that was.

    And while I’m on my soapbox, don’t we all hate the term “pitch?” Are we telemarketers? I think that’s the mentality of the “smile and dialers.”

    And while I agree with some of the comments, it’s no longer about “relationship building” which will lead to coverage. Clients want results and that’s all there is to it. There’s no patience anymore when companies are running out of money, budgets are being cut to the bone, and startups think that PR will save them. Everyone is demanding metrics regardless of whether it’s old-fashioned, mainstream media relations, analyst relations or social media.

    Think about it, when times are tough what are the first areas within a company that is cut? Marketing and PR.

    So wise up people, this recession is going to be with us for quite awhile. If you want to keep your job then learn how to do your job. Use the tools, use everything in your arsenal to do your job well, but most of all exercise common sense. And please, think about PR as a strategic way to build the client’s business, brand and reputation and not how many “hits” you can get.

    Have I ever pitched Robert in the three or four years that I’ve known him? No. Why not? Because none of my clients have fit into the area he’s interested in hearing about. We see each at conferences, and even sat on a rather goofy panel together once. We have a very nice relationship but I’m not going to pester the poor man.

    Finally, I totally agree with the person who said that good and bad clients come and go, but relationships with media (and bloggers) seem to outlast them all. Why screw those up?

  71. none of my clients have fit into the area he’s interested in hearing about.

    See above. So? Find common ground. Amazing how many PR types just play simple matching games. Although “pitching” Scoble, is a bad idea on so many other levels (the curse being chief) but the principle of the matter…making the uninterested interested.

  72. none of my clients have fit into the area he’s interested in hearing about.

    See above. So? Find common ground. Amazing how many PR types just play simple matching games. Although “pitching” Scoble, is a bad idea on so many other levels (the curse being chief) but the principle of the matter…making the uninterested interested.

  73. Scoble,
    Your bitching about the number of bad pitches your get is like the narcissistic movie actor, producer, or director bitching about the number of bad treatments that come across their desks every day. There will come a day (and don’t think there won’t) when you will be where Mickey Rourke was for so long: just hoping someone remembers you as (for some odd reason) an ‘a-list’ blogger and gives you a pitch that will once again make you relevant. So, humble yourself, be thankful (again, for some odd reason) so many PR firms find you relevant enough to be pitched, and resist the urge to bite the hand that could one day end up being the only one that feeds you.

    For every blogger like you that thinks they are now too good to be pitched, except on your terms, there are thousands that only wish they had your “problem”. So, reign in the ego and be thankful you even show up on someone’s radar.

  74. Scoble,
    Your bitching about the number of bad pitches your get is like the narcissistic movie actor, producer, or director bitching about the number of bad treatments that come across their desks every day. There will come a day (and don’t think there won’t) when you will be where Mickey Rourke was for so long: just hoping someone remembers you as (for some odd reason) an ‘a-list’ blogger and gives you a pitch that will once again make you relevant. So, humble yourself, be thankful (again, for some odd reason) so many PR firms find you relevant enough to be pitched, and resist the urge to bite the hand that could one day end up being the only one that feeds you.

    For every blogger like you that thinks they are now too good to be pitched, except on your terms, there are thousands that only wish they had your “problem”. So, reign in the ego and be thankful you even show up on someone’s radar.

  75. Christopher, I hear what you’re saying, but my client’s audience is extrmely targeted so the number of people we are trying to reach is very limited because of the market. The software is embedded so deeply at the chip level that very other than at the chip level would care, and even the market that’s supposedly techie enough to understand doesn’t always get it.

    In other words, it’s a different battle, and not a lack of imagination or laziness on anyone’s part. We’re just taking a different approach.

    That said, I may have something that Robert would be interested in from a humanitarian point-of-view in thh near future, just because he’s a nice guy and likes this type of stuff (as we should be I hope). However, its communication delivery mechanism is certainly not what any of us would be considered ground-breaking technology by any stretch.

    Thanks for your input,
    Pam

  76. Christopher, I hear what you’re saying, but my client’s audience is extrmely targeted so the number of people we are trying to reach is very limited because of the market. The software is embedded so deeply at the chip level that very other than at the chip level would care, and even the market that’s supposedly techie enough to understand doesn’t always get it.

    In other words, it’s a different battle, and not a lack of imagination or laziness on anyone’s part. We’re just taking a different approach.

    That said, I may have something that Robert would be interested in from a humanitarian point-of-view in thh near future, just because he’s a nice guy and likes this type of stuff (as we should be I hope). However, its communication delivery mechanism is certainly not what any of us would be considered ground-breaking technology by any stretch.

    Thanks for your input,
    Pam

  77. Geez Shane, I hope you’re not literally comparing Robert to Mickey Rourke. I assume you’re not. You’re right in that every individual (and company) goes through ups and downs, but I think you’re being a wee bit harsh.

    Based on my experience with Robert, he’s truly a nice man. He may get a little riled from time-to-time, but it’s not all about him. He is, however, a geek who found a great way to take his geekiness and technology evangelist role at Microsoft and move it beyond that traditional role. He and others started a real movement, but he doesn’t claim it all to be his own idea.

    Lookit, I don’t know Robert all that well but he doesn’t try to be more than he really is. For example, if he ever makes the cover of GQ or Men’s Vogue it won’t be because of his fashion sense, but that’s not why we read his blog now is it? :)

    And just to show I don’t always agree with him, he and I (and others) got into a bit at the FORTUNE Tech Brainstorm conference last summer. The topic was about how bloggers who work in a solo environment (such as Robert) don’t have a check and balance system. If they write or say something that’s flat out wrong or could be construed incorrectly, there’s no editor to correct the situation, or no ombudsman to complain to. In other words, Pandora is already out of the box and the problem is out there.

    After a series of discussions, he reconsidered his position on the topic. Someone who has a huge ego wouldn’t even address such a touchy topic. Anyway, I’m sure you get my point.

    Thanks for listening,
    Pam

  78. I used to work in PR and I agree with Robert. Journalists want to cover good stories and it is the PR consultant’s job to help the journalist. If the client pushes you for a story you know is going to be bad, that’s when the PR consultant has to consult. Trying to push for a story that doesn’t fit or just trying your luck is nothing short of lazy. Why would a client pay you if you can’t advise them? BTW, PR today is so much easier, although the newspapers are dying, there’s a whole lot more “media” online. Be creative, try other bloggers.

  79. This post so perfectly highlights the inversion that exists not only in music, art, literature, and even science and invention, but also internet startups:

    Early on, ‘musician’ is nothing.
    Critics, producers, DJs, and agents all look down on new struggling ‘musician’.
    ‘Musician’ has to brown nose to everybody to get anywhere: to get a gig, a crappy record label deal, a cheap guitar, etc.
    He is often considered a pest.

    But, of the clamoring 1000s of struggling musicians, a precious few will become successful, perhaps very successful, and then, the proper order of the universe will snap back into place:

    That the rock stars are everything and the critics, producers and everyone else are nothing but grubby parasites with nearly useless jobs.

    To all those out there who feel temporarily and very precariously above the surging creative forces under you, remember the Hollywood approach:

    Be kind to everyone, for you will surely be working for some of them one day, and be far below many more of them in the not so distant future.

    Same reminder to established gatekeepers of all media:

    You will never ever be anything but parasites, and will never ever (George Martin and Brian Epstein excepted) be considered anything but vermin next to the future rock stars you endlessly snub.
    So why try and act important now just to have it come back and bite you later? Just realize your post and lot in life and do your best.
    The entertainment and business worlds do need gatekeepers, just ones who are more aware of their paltry value to the world.

  80. This post so perfectly highlights the inversion that exists not only in music, art, literature, and even science and invention, but also internet startups:

    Early on, ‘musician’ is nothing.
    Critics, producers, DJs, and agents all look down on new struggling ‘musician’.
    ‘Musician’ has to brown nose to everybody to get anywhere: to get a gig, a crappy record label deal, a cheap guitar, etc.
    He is often considered a pest.

    But, of the clamoring 1000s of struggling musicians, a precious few will become successful, perhaps very successful, and then, the proper order of the universe will snap back into place:

    That the rock stars are everything and the critics, producers and everyone else are nothing but grubby parasites with nearly useless jobs.

    To all those out there who feel temporarily and very precariously above the surging creative forces under you, remember the Hollywood approach:

    Be kind to everyone, for you will surely be working for some of them one day, and be far below many more of them in the not so distant future.

    Same reminder to established gatekeepers of all media:

    You will never ever be anything but parasites, and will never ever (George Martin and Brian Epstein excepted) be considered anything but vermin next to the future rock stars you endlessly snub.
    So why try and act important now just to have it come back and bite you later? Just realize your post and lot in life and do your best.
    The entertainment and business worlds do need gatekeepers, just ones who are more aware of their paltry value to the world.

  81. I loved this, as a blogger and a sometime PR person. It does make me wonder though, if the twitpic I sent as a parent/consumer in response to your stroller query was well received.

    Hope the pregnancy is going well.

    Cheers.
    Amanda
    Twitter Handles- @designtramp and @amandamagee

  82. I loved this, as a blogger and a sometime PR person. It does make me wonder though, if the twitpic I sent as a parent/consumer in response to your stroller query was well received.

    Hope the pregnancy is going well.

    Cheers.
    Amanda
    Twitter Handles- @designtramp and @amandamagee

  83. Hello. This was really interesting to me. Before I read this post, I was reading section three of David Meerman Scott's book- The New Rules of Marketing & PR. I was just reading on the fact that DMS mentioned that PR people should now that before they pitch a blogger, they should know what the blogger writes about and what he/she thinks is interesting. I see that you have mentioned this yourself. I think that this information is vital and true, but astonished to see that many PR people don't see this as common sense. It is outrageous to me to think that a PR would pitch an idea to a blogger that they don't know anything about- or even worse- not care. That sounds so silly to me that someone would pitch an idea to someone who doesn't care. Like you had stated in your post, it is a waste of time! To me, if tons of PR's are still pitching ideas about products or services to bloggers who aren't intrigued by whatever they're talking about, there needs to be a PR meeting around the world discussing the new ways of pitching- even thought this idea seems like common sense. Great post!

  84. Hello. This was really interesting to me. Before I read this post, I was reading section three of David Meerman Scott's book- The New Rules of Marketing & PR. I was just reading on the fact that DMS mentioned that PR people should now that before they pitch a blogger, they should know what the blogger writes about and what he/she thinks is interesting. I see that you have mentioned this yourself. I think that this information is vital and true, but astonished to see that many PR people don't see this as common sense. It is outrageous to me to think that a PR would pitch an idea to a blogger that they don't know anything about- or even worse- not care. That sounds so silly to me that someone would pitch an idea to someone who doesn't care. Like you had stated in your post, it is a waste of time! To me, if tons of PR's are still pitching ideas about products or services to bloggers who aren't intrigued by whatever they're talking about, there needs to be a PR meeting around the world discussing the new ways of pitching- even thought this idea seems like common sense. Great post!

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  86. Robert…

    Great article…your basically confirming what a lot of people having been thinking for some time. PR must be good and informed PR..
    “You are only ever as strong as your weakest link”

  87. Robert…

    Great article…your basically confirming what a lot of people having been thinking for some time. PR must be good and informed PR..
    “You are only ever as strong as your weakest link”

  88. Geez Shane, I hope you’re not literally comparing Robert to Mickey Rourke. I assume you’re not. You’re right in that every individual (and company) goes through ups and downs, but I think you’re being a wee bit harsh.

    Based on my experience with Robert, he’s truly a nice man. He may get a little riled from time-to-time, but it’s not all about him. He is, however, a geek who found a great way to take his geekiness and technology evangelist role at Microsoft and move it beyond that traditional role. He and others started a real movement, but he doesn’t claim it all to be his own idea.

    Lookit, I don’t know Robert all that well but he doesn’t try to be more than he really is. For example, if he ever makes the cover of GQ or Men’s Vogue it won’t be because of his fashion sense, but that’s not why we read his blog now is it? :)

    And just to show I don’t always agree with him, he and I (and others) got into a bit at the FORTUNE Tech Brainstorm conference last summer. The topic was about how bloggers who work in a solo environment (such as Robert) don’t have a check and balance system. If they write or say something that’s flat out wrong or could be construed incorrectly, there’s no editor to correct the situation, or no ombudsman to complain to. In other words, Pandora is already out of the box and the problem is out there.

    After a series of discussions, he reconsidered his position on the topic. Someone who has a huge ego wouldn’t even address such a touchy topic. Anyway, I’m sure you get my point.

    Thanks for listening,
    Pam

  89. I used to work in PR and I agree with Robert. Journalists want to cover good stories and it is the PR consultant’s job to help the journalist. If the client pushes you for a story you know is going to be bad, that’s when the PR consultant has to consult. Trying to push for a story that doesn’t fit or just trying your luck is nothing short of lazy. Why would a client pay you if you can’t advise them? BTW, PR today is so much easier, although the newspapers are dying, there’s a whole lot more “media” online. Be creative, try other bloggers.