I’ve been gathering input from my editor friends about why they ignore
some of the PR pitches they receive. Has this happened to you: you
study a publication, craft a pithy pitch, send it off, only to
I checked in with Sandeep Ajgaonkar, my senior colleague, and an ex
editor of a leading IT weekly. According to him, the biggest reasons
why pitches don’t receive feedback are that “the pitch was untargeted,
poorly targeted, wrongly targeted, or just plain bad and
uninteresting. I don’t have time to respond to pitches like
that.” He went on to make the comparison that untargeted pitches
are like throwing paint at a wall to see what sticks. You make a
pretty pattern, or you may make a mess. “The odds of being the next
Jackson Pollock are small.” (Jackson Pollock made a career out of
He also refers to the PR Wall of Shame – those press releases and
pitches that should be buried so that they don’t “zombie like” arise
and go from client to client.
OK, I think if we’re all honest, we’ve all sent off a pitch or two
that wasn’t appropriate or targeted well. I also believe that there
are editors who aren’t as diligent as others in seeing the potential
of a pitch (they would claim they’re not here to do the research for a
PR person), or who can be in some instances downright rude. Sandeep,
belongs to those elite class of what I call “gentleman editors” —
those who have the technical or industry background for their
particular publication or beat, and who are pretty courteous to the PR
people who beat down their door. But just as you can’t sweep all PR
people into one category, not all editors are immune from criticism.
Unfortunately there are editors I’ve come across over the years who
were 1) antagonistic by nature or, 2) handling a beat or industry they
knew nothing about, but had inherited because of consolidation in the
I receive a number of ill-placed pitches myself. I seem to be on
lists somewhere as a large, multi-national PR agency, as I
periodically receive emails from communication students looking for
internships, or from PR measurement vendors offering me free
certificates to test-drive their software. I also receive emails
from financial firms offering me their accounting services. So I get
it. In most cases, I try to respond courteously.
The PR friends who have privately confessed to me their bewilderment
over the radio silence they receive are — to the person — solid, hard-
working professionals who wouldn’t send a breathy, ill-placed
pitch. So in some regards, this issue leaves me kind of stumped.
Best answers? Well, I’ve got three:
1) Blog – this gets you out there, and by taking on the role of an
editor yourself, you can walk in their shoes. You also gain some
credibility by entering the blogosphere, since so many of the
individuals you are trying to reach are bloggers themselves.
2) Every dog gets one bite — the editor may have too much on his/her
plate, or has already covered the topic or angle to their satisfaction
for the year, or is irritated that you didn’t take more time to get to
know his or her tastes.
3) When and where possible, try to meet with the editors and bloggers
Please comment, don’t be a mute spectator, Let the forum members know
what’s your idea on the above. Also after a little more research I
would also share things to remember while making the pitch notes and
if you have any please share it with the forum.