Please forgive the impersonal nature of this message. It’s hard to avoid with a blog post, but we can assure you that this letter goes out to each and every one of you, and it truly comes from the heart.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Now this is difficult to say, but we’re big believers in not burying the lede, so we’re gonna get right to it. We need to talk. We’ve been together for a long time, and we rely on each other so much (some might say we’re co-dependent).
Anyway, we’ve been having trouble with the way some of you have been connecting with us, and we wanted to let you know in a thoughtful, gentle and diplomatic way… via a love letter… in a blog. (Natch)
Look, we really want to make it work, and we’re committed to you. We just want to make you aware of some things you can do to really help our relationship blossom.
When you reference articles we wrote or praise segments we produced, you warm our hearts and get our attention. Why? Because you took the time to get to know us and the kind of stories we cover. You didn’t just blast off the same message to multiple media outlets. You made us feel special, and we love you for it.
When you address us as “Dear Reporter” (that’s not our name, but when you do use it, doublecheck the spelling) or “inadvertently” use multiple fonts in a press release, you come across sloppy, lazy and careless. And if you don’t care, why should we? Remember it’s the little things that make all the difference.
If you’ve got a great hook, story or news item that you think our audience will care about, please don’t string us along. Get your point across within the first couple of sentences. Trust us, we’ll like you more if you do. Plus, you never want to give us reasons to delete your message, right? So just spill it.
We, of course, mean follow-up emails… although the tone of some of your “just checking in” messages would indicate otherwise. Here’s the thing. If we don’t respond to your first email, please don’t take it personally. And when you follow up with, “Sorry to stalk” or “I want to make sure I’m at the top of your inbox,” guess where those messages go? In. The. Trash. So please try to be more understanding of our busy schedules.
When we’re going to interview your client, please resist the urge to ask to see the questions in advance. We’ll lose respect for you. In that same vein, please don’t ask us who else we’re interviewing for a story. Trust us, we’ve got this.
We love you. We need you, and sometimes we need you to let your client spread her wings and fly. That means leaving the room or hanging up the phone when we interview her. If you don’t, it makes us suspicious that you think your client is not smart or mature enough to meet with us one on one. If you’ve done your job prepping her, she’s got this, so, in the words of Elsa, let it go!
Press releases are meant to generate hype, so one thing you can do to help us sift through the hype is pitch us a great story. A new show, album, movie or book is not necessarily a good story, but it could be an interesting hook for a larger piece. Keep in mind what’s going to pique our readers’ interest and get to the heart of that.
It’s hard to tell you this, but our duty is to our readers (and the truth), not to your client. However, if what you’re pitching is compelling to our readers and complementary to the types of stories we cover, then you may just win our hearts.
Please know that it was hard to tell you all of this, but we do hope that it will help us build a long-lasting, bright future together. Sure, our relationship can be “complicated” at times, but in the end, our hope is that true love will prevail, and love will conquer all.