Through Boston Mamas I have interfaced with some truly awesome PR folks. Unfortunately, however, it is not the case that one good PR apple redeems the bunch. Instead, the flood of sloppy (“Dear X,”), ridiculous (“Dear Boston Mamas Ms. Christine Koh Family & Parenting Blogger”), irrelevant (“We know Boston Mamas would love to experience this event in Los Angeles this weekend!”), utterly unimaginative (“We look forward to you posting our press release!”), and embarrassingly ungenerous (“We’re offering a limited number of bloggers these high res images to promote!”) pitches is so voluminous that the shine of the small collection of well delivered pitches seems but a brief and distant flicker. (Note: PR folks who wish to learn more about good blogger outreach would do well by studying up on Laura Tomasetti and Susan Getgood.) Anyway, as history, I should say that in the old days I used to respond to every single pitch, crappy or not, because I thought that was the polite and respectful thing to do. Someone sends me a letter? I write them one back. But then while my friend Erin (a talented PR person herself) and I were having dinner at the airport on our way home from Disney, I told her about my PR correspondence habits and she looked at me incredulously. She said that though I was a PR agency’s dream, realistically no one responds to every single pitch, especially the really crappy ones. “Stop being crazy, Koh, and use that delete key!” she said.
And so I started exercising my delete key like a mother.
Now, although I have laughed my ass off reading about bad blogger outreach at Motherhood Uncensored and Mom101, my crap has never felt so compelling to share. Until this month where I have been privy to the three worst PR approaches in my "tenure" as a blogger, all - coincidentally - in close proximity to the 3rd anniversary of Boston Mamas.
I’ll share The Bad, The Ugly, and The Unfathomably Absurd in three separate posts.
I - The Bad:
Unfortunately, I no longer have electronic evidence of The Bad because: a) I never responded to the initial pitch (so there’s no trail in my sent folder); and b) I deleted the original and follow up emails and purged my trash because I was pissed and needed to get that bad mojo of my computer, plus I’m running out of disk space on my laptop and am at a point where I need to keep deleting files in order to make room for new ones (pathetic, I know).
But the pitch went something like this:
Dear Christine, [initially gets my attention due to correct salutation]
This weekend, [big brand]’s collection of colorful electronics will debut in stores; your readers will want to know [PR schpiel…]. Please share the below bullet points with your readers…[etc]
I think they also offered me the (embarrassingly ungenerous) privilege of posting their high res images. Pitch immediately bucketed as utterly unimaginative and DELETED. Then a couple of days later, I receive follow up along the lines of:
Hey, I just checked Boston Mamas and why have you not posted about the [big brand] colorful electronics information I sent you yet? The weekend is fast approaching and your readers will want to know [PR schpiel…].
Goodness, whatever happened to the polite "I know you're busy so I just wanted to take a moment to follow up..." sort of email? Instead, this PR rep decided to nag - actually, chastise - me for not posting their utterly unimaginative pitch. Effective? Only in decreasing the odds that I'll be remotely interested in anything they send on their client's behalf in the future.
Up next: The Ugly