If you are seeking to sell your story and gain publicity in a national newspaper, magazine or on national TV, a word of warning – do be careful who you ask to help in your venture.
I say this because if you are unlucky enough to choose a poor PR company to represent you, then not only could you be left out of pocket (because they will charge you for their service) but your name will also be attached to their (bad) name.
On friday I received an email from a PR professional we will, to spare his blushes, call John. John offered me an interview with a woman who’d taken part in the 2012 Olympics.
I didn’t reply – there was nothing new about this woman’s story and I couldn’t see why any publication would want to print a story that was in effect two years old (and she’d had lots of publicity at the time.) I was also busy.
On Monday John emailed me urging for a response and I politely told him the above, adding if there was a new update to this woman’s situation then to get back in touch.
I then received this email in reply, which I am putting here in full so anyone in PR can learn from it:
Thanks for the update.
I will be in touch with something new and interesting.
Can you please tell me on which newspaper or magazines you share stories.
I would appreciate some more info so that i can inspire myself to send you interesting stories.
And in case it isn’t abundantly clear as to the glaring mistake John wrote in this email, I will spell it out here.
If you are emailing a professional – be it a journalist, a media agent, literary agent, editor or anyone else you hope will help you on your way – do not ask them what they do. In my case, all John had to do was click on the first page of featureworld.co.uk to see which papers and mags I write for.
Do not ask the professional you are approaching for their credentials. Check out the person you email before making contact. Then remember you are the person approaching them and they do not need to prove anything to you so do not ask them.
While you are at it, check your grammar and punctuation – and avoid poetic prose. Be business-like.
John came over as a ‘spam PR person’ – this is the name I give to those lazy PRs who spend their time just sending out loads of similar emails to lots of people (which was why he had no idea which publications I write for because he couldn’t be bothered to look). And unfortunately as my junk email box proves, he is far from the only offender.
The saddest thing is that the woman he is representing has put her trust in him to gain her publicity – not to mention her money – but won’t have any idea of the stupidity of his pitches.
Do you need to gain PR or publicity? Contact me using the form to the right hand side for proven results that won’t cost you a penny >>>