Not so very long ago, I wrote an article about a stupidly expensive table water, made from frozen polar bear urine or some such.
I forget the details but it wasn’t a flattering piece. I seem to recall grandstanding about the immorality of shipping a chunk of polar ice-cap around the world to slake a rich man’s thirst.
A couple of days later I got emails from three PRs saying how much they enjoyed the piece (bonus points all round – they showed they’d read the publication they were pitching to and, more importantly, that they were not above a bit of flattery. These are both GOOD THINGS).
But then they spoilt the vibe by saying that they too were looking after drinks companies who produced expensive mineral water for the discerning diner and would I care to write about their clients too.
I want to go on record and say that I’m a big fan of this proactive approach. A tailored pitch is always the best course, but the problem here – besides my being broadly against shipping water around the world so what are you inviting on your client’s head? – is that I’ve just covered the story and it’s much too soon to be suggesting a copycat feature. I’m not proud, but not even I will run essentially the same story back to back.
So here’s the take-home: take note of a relevant story, adapt it to include your own client, and then pitch it to everyone EXCEPT the guy who wrote it first.