Five reasons why the media thinks you’re boring

Five reasons why the media thinks you’re boring

Last September I ran this post –  as we get into one of the busiest seasons in PR I thought it was a good idea to remind ourselves that a) we’re probably not going to ever be truly original b) our products and service are not story ideas and c) being annoying never works. Enjoy! (PS – there were some great comments last year, so check out the original post for those as well)

I would never imply that the media are a bunch of babies.

Ever wonder why some people get instant press and others languish? Despite all the reasons you hear (bad publicist, bad timing, dumb media, war, famine, smallpox outbreak..) it’s because their pitch is not nearly as interesting as they think.  If you think you don’t have to read this post because you KNOW this doesn’t apply to you…you probably need to read this post. So bear with me… here are the top five reasons why pitches get ignored:

1. Unless you’re Einstein, you have not thought of this first. YOU may think it’s unique but if you went to the bookstore (yes, the actual bookstore not Google or Amazon) you will likely find at least three books on your topic. If you do a product competitive search you will find tons of people with the exact same idea/product/service. It’s inevitable.
2. Your pitch is a sales pitch. Nobody wants to hear the features and benefits of your stuff. They want a news story. I don’t care if your widget is the fastest/best/easiest/prettiest/etc. It’s the story BEHIND the widget that may or may not be interesting.
3. Nobody has heard of you – even if  you’re a big shot. Sorry, but there are thousands of people trying to get on Ellen/Oprah/Today show…etc. Even if you’ve started a multi-million dollar company or rock out on your local TV station every Friday – national media has never heard of you. Keep your ego in check and realize you are probably one of many.
4. You think if you keep calling/emailing/texting/twittering/faxing they’ll finally say yes. A NO means NO. The more you ignore the NO the more you will be ignored yourself. And get a reputation as a whiner/bully/stalker/insane person.
5.  You can’t tell your story well. If the person doesn’t “get it” in one sentence you’re out of there. Go back and revise your story and tell this “elevator pitch” to a million people until you’re sure they get it right away.

If you’re frustrated with your PR efforts, take a minute and be honest with yourself. Do you think you’re more unique than you are? Have you done your competitive analysis? Are you trying to sell your product/service/book instead of finding the real hook behind it? Are you taking 15 minutes to get someone to understand what you’re talking about? Really assess where you’re at, go back and get creative. There’s a unique aspect to EVERY client I work with…and there is in your business too. You just have to take the time and exercise the humility to find it!

  • Small Business PR
    Posted at 12:45h, 12 September Reply

    These are all very good points. It’s interesting that you say not to keep calling after being turned down. It makes sense that it would turn away reporters but most people giving PR advice say to be persistent. I always thought that pestering reporters would be a no-no but it seems a lot of people in the field do it. And I definitely think the biggest problem that people have when sending out press releases is that they think what they’re selling is unique and cool but no one else does.

    • bonnie
      Posted at 13:05h, 12 September Reply

      I would say check in a couple times and then that’s it. What you CAN do is go back to them with a fresh twist or spin and acknowledge that you pitched them before. But often people are persistent with the WRONG media…so make sure your stuff is in their wheelhouse before you pitch. And give them something new as much as you can. Hope that answers it!

      • Small Business PR
        Posted at 13:31h, 14 September Reply

        You’ve got a great point. Just because they said no once doesn’t mean they’ll say it to every story. My guess would be reporters would be happy that you remember they didn’t like one story but are giving them something different the second time. It’s also a great idea to ask why they’re turning down a story, so you don’t give them something similar in the future.


        • bonnie
          Posted at 07:06h, 15 September Reply

          We engage a lot of media in the turndowns. It shows that you want to get it right and send them what they need – that is our job after all. Had a great late night email convo with an editor in chief of a major mag last week. I never would have talked to her if I hadn’t pitched her something she didn’t like.

  • Taaza News
    Posted at 04:18h, 13 September Reply

    Nice post. You have shared very good points here.

  • Mat
    Posted at 06:45h, 13 September Reply

    So true

    “Sell the sizzle not the steak”

    “Don’t tell me how it came to be, tell me what it means to me”

    “WII FM – What’s In It For Me”

    And in the case of Journalists, tuning into WII FM means giving them a genuinely interesting story.

    I did this once and ended up all over the national media in my country.. got more than 1000 media mentions. 🙂 It works if you have something interesting to say!

  • Mia
    Posted at 02:29h, 13 September Reply

    Indeed, if you do not have a good story, then you’d better come up with one very fast, because the audience doesn’t want to hear a new ad. I’ve heard someone even saying that without a gullible story, a product has no chance.

  • commercial cleaning in Glasgow
    Posted at 04:11h, 14 September Reply

    Upon reading this post, I remember one of my client asks me to write a descriptive title to the website he is going to launch online. I was even asked to market it.

    In the process, I thought that using SELLING-LIKE quotes and words for the site in all my market strategy is good, too bad it doesn’t work well. It’s been a long time since we realized that customers isn’t captivated by selling-like phrases.

    Now, Im more on plainly describing the product that I will market. It is also great to offer FREE trials to the products so the costumers will know that we are serious on our product quality!

  • Website Strategy
    Posted at 05:52h, 14 September Reply

    Great content, Back in the day, people didn’t buy traffic; they earned it.

  • Tekstforfatter
    Posted at 01:30h, 15 September Reply

    You´re absolutely right, not least about reason #1. But in my experience, it will always be possible to launch an old idea to new, young journalists – who has never heard of it before.

    • bonnie
      Posted at 07:03h, 15 September Reply

      Perhaps but I think their editors will have heard of it!

      • Rufus Dogg
        Posted at 07:05h, 15 September Reply

        And they will become visibly and irrationally annoyed 🙂

  • German Translation
    Posted at 02:42h, 15 September Reply

    Media thinks I’m boring? Well, what can I do! Love the pic 😉

  • Rufus Dogg
    Posted at 06:12h, 15 September Reply

    Point #4 is the BEST advice on the list. We deal with a lot of soccer tournaments and in these soccer clubs are “experts” who think they now how media works. And everybody wants to be in charge. Everybody wants to be “the guy” who snagged the TV crew to come film their event or the reporter to write the story. So many times, they have multiple people who are the “official” PR person call the station/newspaper. And all that does is shut down the line of communication.

    I think maybe #6 (if there should be one) is to funnel everything through a strong, credible person, especially when you are a non-profit or club. Sometimes too much help is no help at all.

    • Rufus Dogg
      Posted at 06:12h, 15 September Reply

      now how, know how… ack….

    • bonnie
      Posted at 07:08h, 15 September Reply

      Isn’t that funny maybe its because tv is so glamorous lol

  • christine
    Posted at 02:27h, 17 September Reply

    Made me think for a while. very true, a NO means NO.. be true to yourself and examine if you’re unique from the rest. It’s a competitive world and you must be different to be on the top.

  • Price comparison
    Posted at 12:43h, 19 September Reply

    I liked the point 3. “Nobody has heard of you”. Everybody starts equally, this means something.

  • ascentive
    Posted at 16:16h, 19 September Reply

    >>Ever wonder why some people get instant press and others languish? Despite all the reasons you hear, it’s because their pitch is not nearly as interesting as they think

    unfortunately those who are most innovative are not the ones who reap the rewards in the end; especially when you’re dealing with “art” (music, video, poetry, whatever). the history of the way art forms evolve is mostly tales of obscure underground enthusiasts working for the love of their craft. eventually a chain of innovations by these relatively unknown people trickle down into the mainstream by someone who, through a series of consolidation, simplification, social savvy and *luck*, and then this person explodes into the mainstream, celebrated as an icon of that movement.

    • bonnie
      Posted at 06:44h, 20 September Reply

      That reminds me of that old quote “the harder you work the luckier you get” as always thanks for the astute comments!

  • How towork lower abs
    Posted at 16:43h, 21 September Reply

    Point one is so true .. I always think I come up with new ideas. But nevertheless as soon as I search it someone beat me to it… great post!

  • Ana @ Deceased Estate Sales
    Posted at 04:55h, 22 September Reply

    There are no new ideas anymore, that is true. All we have left is the hope that we can present them in a good way.

    People should be honest about themselves. It’s probable that your story is only interesting to yourself and you mother. Try presenting it to your friends and acquaintances. Are they listening to you all the way to the end?

  • Web Chit-Chat
    Posted at 06:23h, 23 September Reply

    The conclusion speaks for itself. Creativity is the key. Of course, sometimes this is hard.

  • Garage
    Posted at 05:41h, 29 September Reply

    Lolssss i Like all Points always bored front of the television….

  • California Free mls
    Posted at 15:18h, 16 October Reply

    Its not a good experience when the media thinks of our site as a big bore but instead of feeling laid back its better to start working on those shortcomings. The 5 loopholes pointed out are completely true, we have to do proper homework before going out to sell.

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    Posted at 22:03h, 09 March Reply

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