As an entrepreneur, pitching the media has always been confusing and elusive.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve no doubt felt these and other similar questions.
If you’re a journalist, you’ve probably felt the brunt end of entrepreneurs trying to figure it out, and failing miserably.
Then I read a great series of articles by Mike Butcher. And that led me to great articles by other respected journalists. And my over-generalized takeaways were these:
And guess what? This same formula seems to be preferred by nearly every journalist that has taken the time to rant -- and plead -- for the industry to wake up!
So why do we entrepreneurs, businesses and PR reps mess it up so badly? Why do products and toolsets hit the market promising to subvert journalists? Or somehow lull them into covering your gig?
No wonder why journalists treat crappy PR tactics (from professionals and amateurs) with such disdain!
Well, being entrepreneurial in nature, I figured there needed to be a little disruption in the email pitching and press release distribution marketplace – for all of our sanity.
As such, PR.Directory was born.
Check out the video below.
Once I pitch spammed (and most likely upset) Amy Cosper, then Editor-in-Chief of Entrepreneur Magazine. I feel bad.
(Well, we never actually made a connection, so there’s a good chance that she has no idea who I am. I hope.)
Let me explain.
Some time ago, I worked with a company that wanted coverage with Entrepreneur Magazine. Who wouldn’t as a startup?
In sales, if you’re good, you start from the top and you work your way down. Why wouldn’t the same strategy work in securing startup coverage in a major publication?
So I email pitched Amy. The pitch was a beautiful novel. I left no stone unturned.
Crickets. I can remember thinking it was odd.
She must not have received my amazing email. Time to bring out sales tactic number two: send a LinkedIn connection request.
My heart skipped a beat when she accepted the request within minutes. It was now time to enlist sales tactic number three: wait a few days and send a LinkedIn message. Man, this was going to be good!
(Who said getting media coverage was hard work?!)
After firing off a LinkedIn message, it was crickets again for another week. No biggie I remember thinking. I'll just use sales tactic number four: call her.
(Shock and horror I know. NEVER call a journalist. NEVER, NEVER call an editor-in-chief I’ve since learned.)
The closest I got to Amy was a receptionist in Irvine, CA. My guess was I was the thousandth call left for Amy that day, and I guarantee I never made it past the reception desk.
As such, it wasn't surprising to hear nothing but crickets for yet another week.
OK, she was playing hard to reach. I have had CEOs play the same game, and I’ve won on many occasions. Game on.
Time to deploy sales tactic number five: send the office pastries to get noticed.
(Yep… another faux pas when connecting with journalists I’ve since learned).
(I still wonder if the 2-dozen personal-sized cheesecakes I sent to the Irvine office ever got eaten.)
Nothing was working. Time to try sales tactic six: call around the organization and try to get an introduction.
Fort Knox I’m telling you. No one would make an introduction for me. No matter how much I groveled and begged.
Time for sales tactic number seven: send the "get off the fence" email. If you’ve ever been in sales, you may also know this as the "breakup email".
In the email, you inform the recipient that you won't be reaching out again. Unless of course, they write you back and tell you otherwise.
I know this won't surprise you, but crickets again.
And you know what? Amy was right to ignore me(if she ever even got my messages).
Looking back, I should have stopped at the LinkedIn message. If my pitch was noteworthy, I would have heard back from Entrepreneur.
But like every entrepreneur, business, and PR rep, I looked at the absence of a response as a need to increase the pressure.
I was wrong. Lesson learned.
But the good news: It led me to the creation of PR.Directory.
Well, that and an article I read from Mike Butcher.
(But more on that next time.)
PS. Amy Cosper, if I haven't made it clear yet, I'm sorry for pitch spamming you!