Reporters About Publicists
"For the most part, I've found publicists extremely helpful, especially when they've taken the time to know my publication's needs, parameters and editorial mission. And it's usually a two-way street—I'm much more receptive to pitches from publicists who've done their homework, and who have also been helpful in the past when I have contacted them from my end of things.
Things seem to work the most smoothly with publicists when they, and the media to which they are pitching, are both in sync with a common goal—to get the word out about something, or someone, that serves both their interests."
Editor in Chief
"Many is the time I have received timely, useful information from publicists about clients or topics of interest … but those times are dwarfed by the countless phone calls and e-mails by clueless individuals following up on someone else’s e-mail, or asking what happened to a news release sent a month earlier, or launching into a pitch without asking, “Do you have a minute?” and telling me why their pitch is a great story for our readers.
- Publicists who ask “Do you have a minute?” are smart and polite and easy to deal with.
- Publicists who understand our newspaper’s focus ask intelligent questions; those who don’t are starting from a hole of no knowledge.
- Publicists who have office workers call on Friday afternoons to follow up on a release sent by someone else are truly annoying.
- You launch a pitch, ask if it is OK to launch a pitch.
- When you launch a pitch, understand who you are talking to and what their publication does for a living.
- After you launch a pitch, your job is done … news professionals will take it from there. If they like it, you will hear back from them, or you will notice it in their publication (but you have to look). If they don’t like it, they deleted it and it will not appear. Be patient, watch for results.
If you get results, a quick 'thank-you' greases the skids for next time.
This is not rocket science."
Deputy Managing Editor
"I get pitches for some very strange products and services. We are a FAMILY magazine. I only want to hear about things that a mom or her kids would use or need. Dads do not read our magazine. Let's face it, moms control the spending in a household. They decide what meals get eaten, what clothes to buy, which doctors to use. So our primary readers are moms.
Also, I get about 200 a day. PR companies should realize that I do not have time to answer every email that comes across my screen. If I hear about another revolutionary diaper bag I am going to spit. Seriously, that is not what our magazine is supposed to be doing. If they want to advertise it, fine, that is where it belongs, it's where most of those products belong, in an ad. I need really helpful information about moms helping kids grow up to be lawyers and doctors and stuff. How to handle bullies, what to tell your 11 year old about getting her period, how teaching your teenager how to tell his friends he doesn't want to drink alcohol or do drugs. This is the stuff we really need. If you want to promote the next Hanna Montana CD, buy an ad. Advertising is the only way we make money and I know the companies out there making the products have the money to do it.
I am not in the business of giving away free advertising. I am here to help moms be the best moms they can be. I hope that I have been helpful and not too negative towards PR companies. After all, they are just doing their jobs."
Special Projects Editor
Washington FAMILY Magazine
"I like working with a professional publicist when I need a specific source for a story. Most are very easy to work with and help me out with setting up the interview. I don't like unsolicited 'follow-up' phone calls. Send an email. I read every pitch."
Randall Reilly Publishing