TechCrunch's @robinwauters PR pitches I hate: "You have probably already seen the news that blah blah. As you're drafting your coverage of the news, blah blah blah."
TheNextWeb's @alex I actually did see the news, and passed. Pitches like that mean I made the right call. Comes across as very arrogant, too.
Ad Age's @Aerocles Hey PR Pros - RT @alex @robinwauters I like pitches from real people. Hey Alex, this is Jim from company X, can I send you what we're up to?
Joe Ciarallo, a friend in the biz who, like me, straddles the editorial and PR sides of the media relations equation, has a term for these inauthentic PR come-ons. He calls them "robo pitches."
This persistent problem has caused some journalists on the receiving end of these mass-produced pitch letters to go over the deep-end in outing the PRpetrators. What's worse: the pitches not only sound inhuman, but they're easily identifiable as having been sent to every other (competitive) journalist on the beat.
Take GMail. If you edit and re-paste your PRose into another email (for another reporter), the edited words arrive in a different font color. If you use one of the automated database companies to disseminate your pitch letters, the return address can be traced back to the sending service. And then of course there's the use of "BCC" - a dead giveaway.
I don't have a definitive cure for this intractable problem that sometimes sadly prevents reasonable story ideas from seeing the light of day. A little more senior supervision over the editorial output by less-seasoned members of an agency or corporate PR department might help. But then again, maybe it's hiring pros who understand and can creatively emulate in their communication these two words: Get Real.