A New Way to Pitch

“Hi NAME,

Hope all is well! Just wanted to touch base with you regarding XYZ. COMPANY will be exhibiting this year AT EVENT and would love for you to stop by the booth to have a little fun, check out the new PRODUCT and discuss what’s going on in the industry. Please let me know your thoughts and if you are interested in scheduling a one-on-one booth appointment with COMPANY, as I’d be happy to help!

Kindly,
PR REP”

Sarah Kohnle, The Managing Editor at the Missouri State Teachers Association, has received several of these pitches from different firms in the last few days.

Where is this new, ultra-friendly , conversational pitch approach coming from? Do these PR professionals really think they’re fooling the recipient into thinking that there’s an established friendship? Doubtful.

On first glance, it could be interpreted as intended for someone else, but as the pitches keep coming, it just sounds pitiful. The tone comes across more like a desperate elementary schooler wanting to befriend the middle school neighbor and less like a professional invitation.  Particularly when the PR Pro simply replied and included the original overly-friendly first two emails.

Bottom line: neither party is fooled. Unless you really know the recipient of your pitch, don’t pretend you do.

A 2005 graduate of the University of Missouri’s Journalism School, Aurora spent several years covering education-related issues in Missouri, Texas and Washington, D.C., before returning to Columbia, Mo.  The active Alpha Chi Omega alumna serves as the Online Communications Coordinator for the Missouri State Teachers Association and runs a successful communications and consulting business. Outside of the office, Aurora enjoys running, and is training for her fourth half marathon. Her two biggest fans are her husband and cat, but only one of them cheers her on at all the big races.

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  • So, you’re reading this approach as a form of deceit? It’s a weak pitch, no doubt , but there’s nothing in it to suggest anything more than a lame attemp at being conversational.

    • Robert, this was the more mild version of these types of emails. We’ve received ones that say, “I forgot to tell you” or “Just so you know” and indicate a previous relationship. With many of those it isn’t until the signature line that I realize I’ve never met you and that you work for a PR Firm. 

  • I’dlovetoknow

    Then I’d love to know Aurora, what would be a better way to be friendly and engaging without “faking a friendship”? I think the pitch may not be great but at least it’s attempting to kindly reach out without overstepping a person’s bounds.

    • The first thought that comes to mind to to establish a real relationship, it does take time and effort but could pay off immensely in the end for both parties. 
      Aside from that, make it personal without being fake. Tell me why you think my publication or I would be interested in attending this event, reviewing this product, etc. Overly-friendlyness doesn’t compensate for real research and targeting. If you can give me an angle or reason I haven’t though of, I’m more likely to want to reciprocate establishing a relationship and leaving that communication door open. 

    • Let’s look at the pitch above, make some assumptions for simplicity, and re-write it to be friendly but less, umm, slick:

      ———

      Subject: Interested in meeting at EVENT?

      Hi NAME,
      I notice from reading your BLOG/ARTICLES that you’ve written about TOPIC several times in the past NUMBER months. TITLE LINKED TO ARTICLE was especially relevant to what COMPANY is working on, which is why I’m writing to you. [NOTE: YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO READ THEIR STUFF. FAKING IT MAKES YOU AN OBVIOUS TOOL.]

      COMPANY has just launched PRODUCT that speaks to this topic. And while you might or might not be interested in a product angle, I’d like to introduce you to the team at COMPANY, because they could be a useful resource for you for both TOPIC-related articles and the industry in general.

      Our exhibit will be in booth X at EVENT, and we’d love for you to stop by. If you’d prefer a one-on-one meeting, we can do that, too.

      Kindly,PR REP

      ———

      Not perfect by any means. But it’s honest, relevant and friendly without being chatty.

      Aurora, consider sending a link to your post to the Bad Pitch Blog.

      • I agree with Holly, your rewrite is much better proving you can be friendly without being smarmy. A quick Google search and a few website clicks could provide ample details for the pitch you outlined above. 

      •  Exactly, Robert. Always remember to ask what’s in it for the journalist. They’re less interested in all the fluff about my product or client. They’re more interested to know: A. you read my stuff. and B. As a result of reading my stuff, you are pretty confident I’d be interested in learning about your stuff.

  • Guest

    I enjoyed reading this article, as I see this post as something similar to the failed pitch – another blog post point out what is wrong and stressing the general ideas “research and relationship building,” but not providing the reader with any legit takeaways to improve either their knowledge of research or relationship building. 

  • This makes me sad for my peers in PR. I have read at least 3 articles today on terrible blogger outreach and pitches that missed the mark. This should be PR 101–be transparent and authentic.

    • Holly, it does seem to be a trending topic and I don’t think it’s just blogger outreach. I’ve seen pitches like these to magazine publications (the one above was meant for our School & Community magazine), newspapers and websites. As Robert aptly points out below, with a little effort, a pitch can be personal and appropriate and will likely receive a better response. 

  • This! I couldn’t have said it better. 

  • This comment is meant as a response to Robert’s rewrite.

  • Anonymous

    This is a step up from the blatantly self-promotional generic pitch. But just barely. Being friendly with a blogger is great if you are actually friends/acquaintances or have some mutual friends in common. But even then, it should be on the PRo to go the extra mile, and demonstrate that you have visited the blog before and that your pitch is relevant to their target audience. 

  • True! correct Aurora! I think you hit this right on the nose. Great read, thanks!

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