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with Aliza Sherman

If you own a business - home-based or otherwise - this is the blog where you'll find practical tips and smart ideas about entrepreneurship. I've started and run 4 different businesses so "been there, done that." I'll also invite successful entrepreneurs to share their best advice with you.

To learn more about Aliza, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! and her website, www.mediaegg.com.

10 Ways to Piss Off the Freelance Press

Categories: Biz Nuts & Bolts, Uncategorized

8 comments

ReporterAs a freelance writer and blogger, I get bombarded daily by PR folks and business people pitching me to write about them, their clients, their companies, fill-in-the-blank. I have hundreds of unread emails in my InBox, sorry to say, but am having my new personal assistant go through them and sort them based on urgency, topic and relevance to what I do.

Freelancers are juggling a million things and are always on deadline. For example, I compose at least 8 blog posts, release several podcasts, and write at least several articles EVERY WEEK.

For the record, I write specifically about:

1. Women business owners - This actually does mean women and not men (for those who pitch me male business owners all the time).

2. Women’s business issues - This means topics, themes, issues about business that have a female slant. Some examples? Women who have a baby while running their business. Women who hire their husband or boyfriend to work for their business.

3. Web applications and gadgets for Web workers - This is my non-female writing gig. I use and review various applications and gadgets that make any part of work easier for people who work predominantly on the Web.

4. Dog stuff - I’m interested in anything dog.

5. Mommy stuff - I’m interested in things related to toddlers, especially daughters, and the moms who struggle to be good mommies to them.

That’s it. Broad yet narrow. So here are ways that people can really piss me (or other journalists off). Translation: Don’t do these things, please!

10. Don’t add me to your email list without asking permission first.

9. Don’t fail to remove me from your email list when I ask.

8. Don’t pitch me without first perusing my web site and online clips.

7. Don’t respond to one of my queries (on ProfNet or Help a Reporter Out, for example) with an off-topic story idea.

6. Don’t fail to ask me what I write about or what I’m working on at the moment.

5. Don’t pitch me somebody who is not available to be interviewed.

4. Don’t use hyperbole when you are pitching - just stick with the facts.

3. Don’t attach any files to your email pitch - but do include URLs to online materials.

2. Don’t email me with nothing but the message “Wondering if you’re interested in the pitch I sent the other day.” I have no idea what you’re referring to.

1. Don’t stretch the truth. If you or your client is not a fit for my story, don’t lie to try to make them fit.

There are many opportunities to get covered by freelancer writers and bloggers. If you don’t do the things above, chances are you’ll build great relationships with some of them and get good press because of it.

What are some of the ways you build relationships with the press, particularly freelance writers?



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8 comments so far...

  • This is great. One thing that bugs me is when I get pitches addressed just to “Ms.”—they haven’t even filled in my name. Another thing that bugs me is when I get pitches addressed to my co-blogger.

    swistle  |  July 27th, 2008 at 6:56 pm

  • I’m not even a journalist - I’m just a blogger - and it bugs me when someone continues to beg me to review a product or book even after I’ve said no.

    Daisy  |  July 27th, 2008 at 8:52 pm

  • I constantly get phone calls from PR folks who want to follow up on story ideas that I’ve already rejected… drives me up a freaking wall, especially when they call me at my office about something that’s freelance. If I’ve already replied to your email with a thanks-but-no-thanks, calling me isn’t going to make me change my mind.

    I also get pitches with my name spelled wrong. Happens all the time. Every one of them goes right to my “trash” folder.

    Lylah  |  July 28th, 2008 at 2:18 am

  • I love this post! :) Sooooo true.

    samantha  |  July 29th, 2008 at 9:19 pm

  • Thank you for this post.
    To all you freelance writers, bloggers, you are powerful people so those like me will pitch a story to you.

    So please keep writing about what pisses you off and the best way to approach you so I know.

    Vera Babayeva  |  July 31st, 2008 at 1:24 am

  • Such good advice!

    Nataly  |  August 6th, 2008 at 4:32 pm

  • This is a great post. I can’t stand it when people do stuff like that.

    Carlana Charles  |  September 5th, 2008 at 5:36 pm

  • This is just from my history with companies.

    Don’t ask me for my address, phone number, or any other personal information intended only for spamming me

    If I’ve written something horrible about your company, do not ask me to remove the post…it’s there for a reason. I know you’re not sorry about my experience with you

    If I email you…respond. I don’t care how busy you are, it should be within 12 hours. Caring about your customers should be at the top of your list. If I care enough to give you feedback, you should care enough to reply

    Do not send me Auto e-mails. I already know you’re busy, I saw your FAQ / help page, and I know you got my email or I would get one of those emails back from my provider saying it was not received

    Kyle Webs  |  August 28th, 2009 at 5:10 am

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