When PR People Are Rockin’ the Oldies

I like oldies as much as any grizzled Boomer, but that only pertains to music and maybe fashion styles. Ever see my wardrobe? Hey…stuff comes back! Anyway, oldies for which I have no appetite are news stories, but this week that’s what I’ve been served up in my email.  Since I’m both a journalist and PR consultant I’m claiming rights to offer this brief observation.

I recently received a pitch from someone offering me an interview with the CEO of a company that’s doing digital auto sales with a bit of a twist. OK..got my attention. But then it lost my attention after I took 20 seconds to do a search on the company and discovered the company actually launched last summer, winning excellent coverage from Bloomberg and Automotive News. The reason they call it “news” is because stories are supposed to be about something, um, NEW, not an exercise in nostalgia. Being the nice guy I am, I politely informed the PR person of the total UN-timeliness of such a story and suggested she should have pitched me the story when it was fresh, and not as smelly as a four-day old carp. I’ve yet to hear back from her but I imagine my response elicited a murmured “screw off old man,” or something more NSF.

Earlier this week I received a pitch for another stale story and politely declined, explaining my publication is not an oldies station. The PR person was temporarily stymied by my snark before replying inexplicably, “thanks for the update!” HUH? Update? No….DATED!  

Since you’re all smart and accomplished pros I won’t belabor the point with more examples of which I have no shortage. The point is, if you’re going to pitch a story please do a quick search to see what’s been previously reported about the company, then come up with fresh angles to give the reporter a reason to write another story about the business. Pro hint: just offering a profile of a company is often a loser unless that company is segment-buster or the CEO’s work station is an actual shark tank. 

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