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A Cautionary Tale: Four Pitching No-Nos [Slide Show]

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111028-01. Intro
Who doesn't crave coverage from influential bloggers? You probably pitch story ideas on a regular basis. But there's a right way to do it—and a very, very wrong way to do it. Consider, for instance, what happened when a hapless PR firm crossed swords with Jenny Lawson of The Bloggess.
111028-02. Mistake No. 1: An Untargeted Pitch

Mistake No. 1: An Untargeted Pitch

It all started when Lawson twice received a generic press release about a Kardashian sister and pantyhose. The problem: Lawson's blog doesn't cover fashion, and she routinely rails against "ridiculous pitches involving celebrities using products." Sending patently irrelevant information is an excellent way to let a blogger know you've never bothered to read her blog.

111028-03. Mistake No. 2: Numerous Grammatical Errors

Mistake No. 2: Numerous Grammatical Errors

The offending release included the following garbled sentence: "The Kardashian's [sic] once again show they are right on trend, and this is on [sic] Mommy's [sic] are all going to want to follow." Grammatical sloppiness undermines credibility and creates an image of slapdash indifference. Why should a blogger care if you don't?

111028-04. Mistake No. 3: Not-So-Veiled Threats

Mistake No. 3: Not-So-Veiled Threats

Things got more interesting when Lawson replied to the pitch with one of her trademark responses that explained what the PR company had gotten wrong. A mature publicist would have taken the scolding in stride and, hopefully, taken it under advisement. This one, however, became vindictive: "We'll make note of this email in moving forward and remember if we have any advertising opportunities with any of our clients not to go through you."

111028-05. Mistake No. 4: Name-Calling

Mistake No. 4: Name-Calling

Lawson had no intention of responding to the threat. But then one of the PR company's vice-presidents hit "reply all" on an email that included Lawson's address. "What a [expletive] [expletive]!" he wrote. And with that ill-advised message, an untargeted pitch escalated into crisis management for the PR firm when Lawson tweeted about the experience to 164,000 followers and wrote an extensive, detailed post on the topic.

111028-06. Remember to Pitch With Care

Remember to Pitch With Care

The moral of the story is simple: Show respect for a blogger, and a blogger will respect you for it; show disrespect, and watch out because the platform a blogger uses to promote your brand can also trash your brand.

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Christian Gulliksen is a writer who has authored several of the Get to the Po!nt newsletters for MarketingProfs. A former editor at Robb Report, he has also contributed to Worth, Variety, and The Hollywood Reporter.

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