So, if you start an email with “I know you don’t cover this, but” phrase, then it’s probably a good idea not to send it.
Brevity: Some pitches I get go on for pages and pages. It’s almost comical. I’m not sure why people think I have time to spend a half hour reading a pitch.
For me, I want something short. For example, I’d prefer just a paragraph that provides an interesting hook and supporting details.
I think of a pitch like ecommerce—that is, you only have a few second to catch a person’s interest.
Writable: Even when a pitch is relevant and concise, it still may not be successful. The reason: It may not be writable.
By this I mean that I would have a tough time writing a story—say 500 to 600 words—on the topic. This is actually very common for the pitches I receive.
I think a PR person should answer the following: Could you write a story about the pitch? And, would readers be interested?
Product Focused: Many pitches are essentially hawking the company’s product. Yet this probably will not work too well (unless the author or publication is focused on products). For the most part, writers generally like to focus on interesting trends or developments—not the latest upgrade or new features.
Timing: After I take a call for a story, some PR persons will want to know when my article will post. I understand that this usually comes from pressure from the client.
However, this question can be tough to answer. For example, if my editor assigns me a story, I often have no clue about the timing. Or, if the story is my idea, I still usually have a vague sense when I’ll post it.
My suggestion: just be patient.
Hype and Jargon: These can be a turn off. I’m skeptical if I hear something like the company is “revolutionary” or the product “is the only one of its kind.”
Exclusives: Sometimes a pitch will grant me an exclusive on a story. The funny thing is I don’t know what this means! Is it that I will get more information than others? I’m really not sure. Actually, an exclusive seems more like a gimmick.