Tweets from real journalists: how not to pitch us

Tweets from real journalists: how not to pitch us

As PR pros, we all know there are those media pitching fails that journalists loathe. There are surveys telling us what they prefer and advice on how they like to be pitched.

But, did you know that there’s actually a Twitter account where journalists share these #PRfails?

Yes! @SmugJourno retweets reporters’ #PRfail tweets.

It’s a fun account to follow, as not only are many of them laugh-out-loud funny, but you can gain some valuable insight into what NOT to do when pitching journalists.

A classic PR 101 mistake. No reporter is going to feel special when you make this error.

Or this:

And then there’s this. No matter how long you’ve been doing PR, I swear, there will be clients who will ask this question. And, the answer is always going to be NO—so please don’t ask:

And, when it comes to reaching out, what’s the best way to contact the media?

Then there are reporters who believe you should never call them, for any reason:

Then, there’s a lot of debate as to whether pitching via social media works. Here’s a tactic that obviously failed:

While we’re talking about social media, yes, you can use it to get know a bit more about journalists. But, there is a line:

And for those wondering if they should attach anything to an email pitch, here’s some advice:

It’s usually best to cut and paste the information into the body of the email. Another tactic some still use in media pitching is an embargo, when reporters are pitched in advance of an announcement but asked to hold the information until a particular date and time. When it comes to embargoes, some in PR wonder if they work—here’s one reporter’s take:

Now, let’s talk about how to get a reporter’s attention. They receive so many email pitches--what’s the best way to ensure your pitch stands out?

Of course, we all know a well-written pitch matters. How about proofing your pitch? Is that important?

And, if you’re cutting and pasting your pitches, use care:

Finally, it’s always good to make sure you’ll be available when you’re the contact on an announcement:

That’s a sampling of what you’ll see on @SmugJourno. If you need some media pitching lessons—or just a laugh—it’s always a good place to turn.

Michelle Messenger Garrett is a public relations consultant, speaker and award-winning writer with more than 20 years of agency, corporate, startup and Silicon Valley experience. She works with clients ranging from small businesses to enterprises such as Adobe and HP, assisting them in crafting and carrying out a PR strategy to help them get the word out, get noticed and increase visibility, prospects and sales.

Photo: No via Shutterstock

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