Since it’s nearing Halloween, it’s a good time to visit five ways you may be scaring away a solar reporter. Be very, very frightened.
This list actually comes from personal experience. I’m in a quasi solar reporter world and a professional solar world. By day, I’m a solar marketer, and by whenever I have time or inspiration — about once a week — I blog here on Renewable Energy World. As a result, I pitch reporters, and I also receive pitches. So I know both worlds:
On the reporter side, you gotta have news, so it’s wonderful to get the latest news and info right into your mailbox. On the PR and marketer’s side, you want to spread the solar news, so you have to email those pitches to reporters who need news.
It seems so simple and complementary, but there are certain ways to work together that are better than others. Recently, a PR rep has been so aggressive in the wrong way that I thought I’d give him (and you) some hints about what NOT to do to get press attention…at least from me.
1) Don’t write to solar reporters like you’re best buddies. I understand in this Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn world that it’s easy to be “familiar” and casual when writing a pitch to a reporter. But we haven’t met. So, sure, write me by my first name, but don’t write like you’re texting me about a hot interview date with your CEO. Worse, don’t end your sentences with exclamation points and think that I’m going to find your solar news that much more exciting! I’m not! Honest! Exclamation points are more frightening to me than zombies, and will turn your news releases into the living dead-end.
2) Don’t send your pitch to the wrong email address. I have my share of email addresses for various blogs and former clients. If your press release email gets forwarded to me from one of these old emails, I’m going to assume that you didn’t bother to read that I wasn’t active there anymore. So, I’m not going to bother reading your news either. Bottom line, check to see if the reporter’s or editor’s email address corresponds to recent articles on the site or magazine. If not, chances are your email is being automatically forwarded to the haunted house of dead email addresses and lost socks. RIP.
3) Don’t keep trying after three pitches, max. Especially if you don’t personally know the reporter, don’t pitch them five times about the same exciting interview opportunity with your client. It’s great to be passionate about your product, but if you don’t hear back from the reporter after a maximum of three attempts (preferably two), assume they’re not interested. Move on. And please don’t write me yet another email about how disappointed you are that I'm not returning your emails or phone calls. Quite frankly, I’m disappointed that you’re stalking me with the same interview offer that I’m obviously ignoring.
4) Don’t be ignorant about the reporter’s articles. As I said, I get pitched about all things solar, but it shouldn’t be a surprise that I write about solar marketing, solar advocacy, trends, and solar policy. That’s my beat. It’s what interests me. Other reporters write about the latest and greatest solar tech, and they may salivate about your new game-changing busbar or the latest gigawatt ribbon cutting. While those things are a little interesting to me, it’s not what I write about. Sorry. But you should know that. You should read what reporters write and find a way to shape your press releases and pitches that speak to their general interests and their beat.
5) Don’t pitch me about what I’ve just written. As I mentioned, I don’t write about the latest and greatest solar widgets, but occasionally I have mentioned a brand or two, and suddenly I get a bunch of pitches about the same thing that I’ve just written about. If I’ve just written about bankability, don’t make your case for why your brand should have been on that list. It’s over. Pitch something else about solar panels, but not bankability. That subject is "been-there/done-that" for at least a few months.
So, for this Halloween and throughout the year, don’t cause a solar PR chain-saw massacre. Do your homework, build long-lasting and respectful PR relationships, and always… UnThink Solar.
The information and views expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author and not necessarily those of RenewableEnergyWorld.com or the companies that advertise on this Web site and other publications. This blog was posted directly by the author and was not reviewed for accuracy, spelling or grammar.