Reminder: The Importance of Research

We’ve all been told since our first day in PR to make sure to do your research before pitching.

But how often is it overlooked for the sake of getting a pitch out before [insert deadline from supervisor]?

Case in point: The Bloggess vs. Brandlink Communications.

Jenny Lawson, aka “The Bloggess” posted about her receipt of an irrelevant pitch more than once, and replied with her standard response for pitches sent from people who clearly did not do their research.

She received a response from the woman who sent the pitch, noting that they would remove her from their mailing list and she would thus miss any advertising opportunities with their clients.

To make matters worse, a Vice President of the company hit reply all and added, “What a fucking bitch!”

Don’t fight fire with fire. It doesn’t work. Oh, and it’s not professional.

Jenny’s response included:

“If you’ve read my blog you would know that a great deal of my blog deals with the importance of public relations companies doing research before sending form letters to bloggers. Specifically, I’m very vocal about ridiculous pitches involving celebrities using products. So much so that I made that actual Wil Wheaton collating paper page to combat this very sort of thing in a quick and painless way.”

“Plus, you’ve sent me this form letter TWICE today. I only point this out so you can delete this *ahem* “fucking bitch” from all of the mailing lists you have me on, rather than just one.”

The VP’s response:

“I get it and I was out of line by saying that however you put way too much effort into your approach. A simple “I don’t cover this, no thanks” or “Please remove” would suffice. To go out of your way to be snarky and rude is a little inappropriate. Again, I should’ve been less harsh – but I also feel like your email was rude and unprofessional as well. We will do a better job to research who we are pitching but maybe you should be flattered that you are even viewed relevant enough to be pitched at all instead of alienated PR firms and PR people – who are actually the livelihood of any journalists business. Don’t be offended, you started the cursing game so maybe we should all just laugh it off and plan not to work together in the future.”

Jenny took it to Twitter, and many of her followers replied and retweeted.

The result: more snark from the agency.

Agreed, if the lesson is not learned, then all of this is pointless.

I’m not writing this to bash Brandlink or any other communications agency, I am writing this to remind all PR professionals, the individuals, to save themselves from a similar situation and to always be  professional. When you send a pitch, your name is on it, so you represent yourself, your agency/company, and your client.Do your research.

The internet is a two way street.

Kelly is a traveler, New York native, public relations and social media professionalavid music lover , techie, and psychologist. She is passionate about enabling meaningful conversations and connections via the social web, believes that learning is lifelong and enjoys discovering new tactics to create and sustain brand identity and influence and maintain advocates.