50 Publishers Share Their Pitching Pet Peeves

Last month, Fractl‘s VP of marketing Kelsey Libert wrote a guest post detailing the results of research conducted by her company and CRM provider BuzzStream. The topic of that story was tips for writing email pitches that editors will actually see.

Spinning off the same project, the team surveyed members of the editorial teams from the “500 top-tier publishers” included in the previous infographic to help identify their biggest pitching pet peeves.

The resulting flipbook is a great — if sometimes painfully honest — document. Interestingly, some of these quotes address pitches from within the given publication’s editorial team, not from outside PR contacts:

The lessons are the same, though. Some basic takeaways after the jump.

Here are some of the things editors mentioned to avoid:

  • Lengthy ledes rather than quick “teaser” summaries
  • Cold calls
  • Repeated pitches for the same story

You’ll see a theme developing throughout these quotes, though: the most common complaint from publishers is a failure on PR’s part to do proper research before the pitch. As The New York Times contact puts it, there’s a “lack of awareness of context. Why is this story suitable for the Times?”

The super-obvious point we’d like to make: a well-tailored pitch is more valuable than a hundred mass emails, and the message contained within should be more specific than “this happened, please consider covering it.” Just keep things short, compelling and relevant in a “this is why the news I’m sending should be on your personal radar” sort of way, because a little familiarity really does help.

We’d also like to highlight a topic addressed only once in the flipbook: the pointlessness of embargoes when pitching bloggers. Digital-first journalists don’t have the time or convenience to plan very far ahead ahead, and if you send us something that we can’t use for a week then we GUARANTEE you we will forget it when the embargo drops. Honestly, we can’t recall a single embargoed pitch that struck us as particularly newsworthy…and that’s not a coincidence.

BuzzStream and Fractl also posted a related Media Relations Guide on Etiquette that’s worth a glance.