Oh, dear. This must be Learn from Others' Mistakes Week. (See Tuesday's post on the Cathryn Sloane affair).

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. PR people -- please think before you pitch! Today I got this gem from a big-time PR firm:

Media Relations Fail

Click image for larger view.

Bad PR pitching

This person is pitching Durham, N.C., a great town just a few miles away. But it's not my "beloved town" as the sender refers to it in her pitch. My beloved town, as noted in the email address she used to reach me, is Carrboro.[Watch this fun video about Carrboro, my kooky hometown]. And if she looked closely at our paper, she'd see we do precious little reporting on Durham, mostly because it has its own paper and is covered by the state's paper of record.

So not only did she pitch me something I'm not going to cover, but she made it worse by not even noticing that I write for a paper two towns over. Never mind that what I write for that paper is a monthly column on film, which -- though part of a thriving creative community -- really cogent to what she's selling.

The take-away for PR people

Don't just buy a list, or build a list without using a) common sense and b) your eyeballs and send to your heart's content. You'll piss off a few reporters, annoy a bunch more and -- most importantly -- not help your client one whit.

COROLLARY: Don't think that just because you paid good money for that media list it's accurate. Most are woefully out of date and/or built by little bots that scour content without regard for dates. Beats change. Build your own dern list or use a proper wire service that makes a living on verification, like BusinessWire or PRNewswire.


Click here for more on how to contact reporters and work with the media.