Long-time reader, first-time letter-writer.
I spent this past weekend getting caught up on my magazine reading. There were a few months of your magazine to get through, so sadly, in the interest of time, I had to just skim many of the articles, stopping to read a few per issue that caught my eye.
Imagine how happy I was to see that one of the columns in your February issue had to do with what we do for a living each and every day – generating media coverage. I expected the author would be head of PR agency or an internal communications manager at a global company. But rather, he is the co-founder and CEO of a digital health startup, after spending two decades as a writer and editor.
In fairness, some of what he had to say was correct. Mr. Goetz talks about his goal to get a story in the New York Times and how a good product and a good narrative (pitch) were key to achieving that goal. However, he goes on to say he reached out to the reporter himself, rather than using a PR firm because “nothing turns off a reporter more than a bland pitch from somebody who’s never read his or her work.”
Now wait just a minute. Feel free to not hire a PR agency, that’s certainly your prerogative. But to make a sweeping generalization that all agency people don’t research the publication and their reporters first before pitching is way off-base.
He is right, reporters don’t respond to bland or untargeted pitches. But reporters also have been known to not respond to pitches that come directly from the CEO of a company.
I’m sure during his tenure as a journalist, he came across of a variety of story pitches, good and bad. I hope the decision to move forward with the story was based equally on the content of the pitch and on the relationship with the person pitching the story.