What Nigerians teach us about media relations

Six rules for perfect e-mail pitches.

Six rules for perfect e-mail pitches

Nobody pitches like the Nigerians.

They steal into your e-mail in the quiet of night and wait for you to begin your day. They are earnest and friendly and write with a great sense of urgency. But they are also quite patient and most appreciative of your time.

I call them the Nigerians, because they’re the ones who started the relentless stream of e-mail pitches that arrive in my inbox and yours, begging us six ways to Sunday to accept the millions of dollars that could be ours if only we would take a moment and contact them.

Often imitated but never duplicated, the Nigerians scam like nobody else. And in every seemingly irritating e-mail, they conduct a clinic for anyone who pitches to media.

Consider the qualities that make up a good Nigerian e-mail con.

1. Persistence. If you’re in media relations, you get used to reporters saying no to you. A lot. They’ll discard your pitch without a word, ignore your phone calls and brush away all manner of appeals—until the one time you hit on something that touches a nerve or, truth be told, fills a need.

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