Off topic pitching – on purpose?

Journalists complain about receiving a pitch that is completely off topic and not anywhere near their beat. Understandable when you have to read a few hundred e-mails a day from PR people. It happens, PR practitioners have access to thousands of contacts by subscribing to services such as Vocus or Cision. Some PR practitioners blast their releases out and just cross their fingers and hope for coverage – yikes! don’t do that, target is key.

But when is sending your release a tad off topic appropriate? For print – send ALL your releases to your already established industry specific reporters. The keywords here are “already established,” meaning you’ve dealt with this reporter numerous times before. Why is this ok? Even though the reporter is not going to pick up the release, you instantly are fresh in his/her mind. There’s a good chance they will call you and request to speak to an expert on a topic they are working on.

I’ve seen it happen many times, first hand. Our comunication team keeps our industry specific journalists updated with what’s going on.

So the bottom line is off topic pitching is bad – but actually OK when you’re pitching a trade publication that covers everything in your industry. Way to contradict myself!

One Response to “Off topic pitching – on purpose?”

  1. Heidi Sullivan, Director, Media Research, Cision - August 4th, 2008

    Good advice, Brian. Regardless of whether a pitch is off-topic or right on-topic, the most important rule is to know who you are pitching. What kinds of stories do they write? What types of ideas and information do they like to receive?

    At Cision, we strive to educate our clients on the best uses of our data through webinars, white papers, speaking at industry conferences, working with professional organizations and more. We work with journalists to obtain detailed profile information on their preferences as well.

    It is important that we all continue to educate the PR community on best practices. Targeting is always key…


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