Sending a lot of pitches to publications without hearing back? Hopefully you are not committing one or more of the following 10 sure-fire ways to get your pitch thrown out.
1. Address the pitch “to whom it may concern.” This is almost as bad as putting the wrong person’s name in the subject line. Don’t be lazy. Research the publications and people you are pitching to. Get to know them and personalize your pitch to specific people.
2. Send the same pitch to every editor and writer for every publication in the same e-mail and putting their names in the BCC field. This, once again, goes back to being lazy. Personalize your pitches to specific people and specific publications.
3. Use technical jargon or language they may not understand. Simplify it so make it easy to both consume and digest.
4. Focus too much on yourself and not enough on how and why your pitch is relevant to the publication and its readers.
5. Having grammatical errors or typos. Good way to lose credibility by simply not paying attention
6. Not paying attention to the topics the reporters and editors cover. Few things annoy them more than getting an e-mail pitch for (example) a restaurant client when all they cover is commercial real estate. Wastes their time and shortens their patience. Or if it is a publication based only in a certain geographic area and you are pitching yourself when you are on the other side of the country.
7. Pitching what should be an advertisement. Contact the sales department for that. Think about the unique and interesting content you want to read; that is what needs to get pitched.
8. Not responding back in a timely manner. If a reporter or editor tries to follow up with you; get back to them immediately. Remember that they are constantly on deadlines and often don’t have time to wait to determine whether to run or can a story.
9. Sending a pitch to one publication, copying and pasting it into a pitch to a second publication but forgetting to change the name of the publication in the second pitch. Enough said on that.
10. Press releases over a page and a half. They only want the vital information. A pitch is not your time to show them that you write fantastic fluff.
SPECIAL NOTE… I had the pleasure of creating this list alongside good friend and pr specialist Leslie Azurdia. She is the marketing and public relations manager for the National Kidney Foundation of Arizona and can be reached at Lesliea[at]azkidney[dot]org