Humility gets you nowhere in PR

Be blunt and get straight to the point when pitching reporters.

Be blunt and get straight to the point when pitching reporters

Believe it or not, several decades ago, my mother made sure I was raised to be a good Queens, N.Y., boy. I was kind of polite, always a “card,” yet capable of cracking up adults at any wedding, graduation or Bar Mitzvah you threw my way. I earned a lot of good guy pats on the head.

Unfortunately for mom, being first a reporter then a PR guy has wrung modesty right out of me. I learned quickly that the media has no respect for humility. In your quest for coverage, if there’s an angle that you know is best, and you are aiming to be the lead for a Times story, being meek and “helpful” just doesn’t cut it. You’ve got to pitch hard and not be mysterious about what you want or what placement you’re looking for.

Over the past several years it seems that everyone has developed a new nicety with the media and with bloggers, presuming that if they’re really sweet and oh-so-darn helpful, reporters will be sure to feature them.

While it’s true that being “nice” works with old ladies and in (some) court hearings, it doesn’t work with reporters who are busy fighting deadlines and trying to get more done than ever before.

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