Answer true or false to the following statements:
—The first time I call a media outlet, it’s always to pitch a story idea about me, my company or my client even though I usually don’t read the publication or watch the program I’m pitching.
—When I call, my pitches usually zero in on the product or service I’m selling, or the cause or issue I’m trying to promote.
—I’ll call the local newspaper and ask them to cover a boring ground-breaking, ribbon-cutting or check-passing ceremony if I have to. I know they won’t cover it, but I’m too much of a wimp to tell my boss his idea stinks.
—If I think I can get away with it, I’ll sometimes ask a reporter if I can read the story she has written about our company before it’s printed.
—I once called a local TV station and asked them to cover our (fill in the blank) event because we worked so hard on it and “deserved” the coverage.
—When a newspaper photographer comes to my company to take a photo, I ask if he can send me one or two extra prints.
—If I’m pitching a blogger, I come right out and ask if she can include the price of our product in her post.
I know. I know. Most of you would rather swallow a handful thumbtacks than do any of those things. But lots of Media Mutts are guilty of doing them.
How do I know? Because for many years, I was on the receiving end of those kinds of pitches, dumb questions and thoughtless PR gaffes. They make a mutt look like a beggar, standing on the street corner, tin cup in hand.
If you can do the media a favor before you ask them for something, you stand a far better chance of having them cover your story.
In “Special Report #49: 17 Ways to Build Valuable Relationships with Media People,” I mention that if you can comment on a journalist’s work, that’s one of the very best ways to get their attention.
So few people do that. And if you do it, they’ll notice. I promise.