Every so often, PRs I know well will ask me a couple of questions to help with a pitch they are about to give to a potential new client. “Would you mind telling us your thoughts on x or if you’ve heard of y”. That kind of thing.
I really don’t mind. It takes all of a minute and I see it as part of the quid pro quo of our relationship. They’ll have done me favours in the past, either professional or personal – a booking at a restaurant here, first dibs on a good story there – and I probably think of them as friends as much as contacts.
A mate asks a favour, you help them out, of course you do.
I’m less tolerant when a PR I’ve had no particular dealings with asks me the same questions – “And this affects me how?” I think to myself – but it’s the ones who cold-mail me with a comprehensive list of questions that really annoy me.
Do you buy bottled water? If so, how often? Which brands are you familiar with? What would you look for in a new product in the same category? How important is the packaging? What do you think about these possible names for the product? Etc, etc.
I’m sorry? Have I got MUG tattooed on my forehead? That’s not journalism, it’s not PR either – it’s called market research, and that really, really isn’t the business I, or I suspect you, have gone into.
Give up 30 minutes of my day and share 30 years’ expertise in return for a “Thanks so much!! ”? I don’t think so. You’re going to have try harder than that.