I hate when there's an elephant in the room.
And let's face it -- we've got quite a few elephants roaming around the online community.
One of them is the fact that everybody's trying to pitch everything, yet nobody knows HOW to pitch anything.
For example, the other day I got this unsolicited pitch in my inbox:
Name: Protecting the innocent
Subject: website launch press release (it actually was all lowercase like that)
Here is our press release for Jane Doe Book's new website that will be launching this coming Monday, August 5, 2013. We would love to see if you could post it on your blog. Thanks so much for your time. I hope that you have a great day.
Name I Will Protect Because Today I've Got Scruples
Jane Doe's Book
I don't even know where to start.
I guess I could start with, "Who the hell are you?"
Or maybe "Why is this relevant?"
Or "You really shouldn't have put so much thought into this!"
Or "Why would you assume I don't have better things to post than flimsy news about some website from someone that I've never spoken to in my life... and all by Monday." <--Oh wait. Here I am posting about it on Monday. Okay, FINE. YOU WIN.
Let's get one thing straight: Everybody needs to get some once and a while.
As in some attention. Some publicity. Some fame. Some buzz. Some PR. Because if you're selling anything -- even if it's the very hair off your head (gross) -- then you've got to learn how to pitch yourself. Period.
But this? Is not the way. None of this -- hey, let's spam blogger's inboxes and hope they're just sitting around with nothing better to say. They're bloggers, for goodness sake. They have plenty to say. So why would they want to say something about you, instead?
And as someone with a corporate background in PR, I think that's really the question that needs to be answered when pitching anyone: Why would they want to say something about you, instead?
So let this be a lesson to you, Intern from Jane Doe's Book, and every other intern, publicist, small business owner, and/or anyone else trying to get some:
In order to get some ass, you've got to kiss some ass.
I don't care if that feels icky to you. I don't care if you're "too good" for that. I don't care if you don't think you "have the time" for that. The fact of the matter is that you're dealing with human beings, and human beings like getting their ass kissed. If you're going to ask them to do something FOR FREE, you need to be giving something FOR FREE. (Or at least help them see why it's incredibly beneficial for them -- or their audience -- in some way, shape or form. WHY IS IT IN THEIR BEST INTEREST? AND NOT JUST YOURS?)
Nobody owes you anything. Even if Jane Doe's Book and its website were the hottest, newest, most mind-blowing thing on the market and Steve Jobs himself came back from the dead to write the damn foreward...
...I STILL don't care.
Nobody owes you anything.
And if you take that approach, guess what?
You won't get anything.
A better way this pitch (to a blogger) could have went?
This is X emailing from Jane Doe Book -- have you heard of it?
Listen -- I'm contacting you because I know that The Middle Finger Project Blog loves helping fierce chicks succeed in their careers and businesses (and making a big ol' splash while doing so), and that's the mission of Jane Doe's book, too.
We've got a really hot new website launching next month to celebrate our book -- could I send you a copy? What's your address? Would love to get you involved.
With all sorts of pink lipstick laden love,
Intern #592 at Jane Doe Book
Then, you know what you do?
Once I say yes, you give me a couple of weeks, and then your lazy ass is going to follow back UP with me, see how I liked the book, and THEN, once you've established rapport and I don't view you as a little annoying vulture child, you ask if I'd mind hopping over to the website and giving it some PR love. Or writing about it. Or writing for it. Or whatever your very specific, short-sweet-and-to-the-point way that I can help you is.
But only then.
That is not step one. Or two.
Unfortunately, most people leave the PR and the marketing for LAST -- so they're in a big, frenzied hurry and realize last minute that they've got to ACTUALLY PROMOTE THIS THING! So they start doing things the sloppy way, and end up spamming a bunch of people who are going to take one look at that email and hit the big fat DELETE button.
And then everyone's wasted their time, haven't they?
And then you aren't any better off than you were before.
Except now, you've not only lost time and money...
...you look like a fool.
And your sales?
Will show it.