Post no links

But sometimes I must.

From PR in Canada and the leading writer on PR research and measurement, Alan Chumley, a note about stakeholder relations research and measurement. We’ve talked a lot about measurement (and my own insistence that measurement really does not exist in a meaningful way for marketing communications) and Alan’s call to pay attention to research and measurement issues in “below the line” stakeholder relations exposes more holes in the current practices (and claims) in these areas.


Pitch, Feverishly

I recently received a pitch from a PR agency through e-mail. At first, I was a little annoyed. There was no possible way I could have been interested in the watery social media company the practitioner was acting on behalf of. I thought of simply deleting the e-mail. I thought I might publish the pitch and critique it in a “how to write e-mail pitches” post. I thought of sending a “STOP SPAMMING” reply. But after my initial displeasure subsided, empathy sunk in as I realized that I have been that practitioner. I have shot a thousand pitches from the hip and I have received angry, threatening responses from bloggers. So I decided I would send back some constructive advice to the coordinator. Here is my response:

Hi Elliot,

Unfortunately, Stractical doesn’t solicit pitches from PR agencies. Also, there are some glaring spelling and grammatical errors in your pitch. You really should take additional care before sending out mass e-mails, especially to bloggers as many will publish your contact information and vilify your client if they feel they have been spammed.

I’ve been in the position of intern/account coordinator and I understand the pressure to get media hits without having my own media contacts. Perhaps a more focused approach with fewer journalists/bloggers would be an effective strategy — something to consider and discuss with your supervisors. Often senior level practitioners preach relationship-based media relations yet bill on the backs of coordinators who are building media lists from software services and pitching for quantity.

Best of luck with your pitching.



Stractical: Very Public Relations

I run this blog, more or less, for my own interest and amusement and therefore do not use unsolicited pitches from public relations agencies. But I never explicitly state that on this blog — and I should. Blogger relations, as a subset of media relations, is an unfriendly, impossible to navigate terrain right now. There are billions of blogs about millions of topics and 99.99% of them are not interested in pitches. But if 0.01% do then it is in PR agencies’ best interests to explore that space. What we need is to start the conversation: between media/bloggers and PR, between PR and their clients and between senior and junior PRtists. Focused pitches, developed relationships take time and investment. Agencies need to provide the time and clients need to make the investment. Until then, media pitches will remain a numbers game, an obfuscated practice we’re not proud of, yet refuse to abandon. Good luck, Elliot.

A typical pitch environment?

Brady admits injury, realizes there are no secrets in football

Quarterback Tom Brady of the Super Bowl-bound and undefeated New England Patriots finally admitted he suffered an ankle injury in the AFC title game with the San Diego Chargers.

Rumours spread like a cold in a kindergarten class since Brady was spotted sporting a foot cast last week by paparazzi cameras. Patriots coach Bill Belichick normally keeps the media far at bay by refusing to give any details about his team, but with the pictures of a hobbling Brady making rounds around the Internet, they were forced to admit Tom was hurt.

What the Patriots learned from this scenerio is that revealed secrets and leaks tend to take on a life of their own. Remaining silence amidst rumours transfers the power of communication to speculators and masses and you risk misinformation gaining credibility. In media relations and employee communications, it’s best to act fast to control the message. The Patriots non-reaction built momentum that inferred the injury was serious and they were afraid to acknowledge it. By crafting a message that acknowledges the rumour and moves to downplay it, the Patriots wrestle back control and can start focusing on winning the big one.