More than twenty years of experience as a magazine editor, freelance writer, columnist, and ghostwriter. What has it taught me? Most attempts to capture the attention of the media are ill-advised and ineffective. They may even convince editors never to look at an email from that source ever again.

In this blog, I cover some of the gross errors and suggest better ways to do it. Every single day, pitches flood in from PRs that are nothing to do with anything I will ever cover. I have to dig through countless numbers of press releases hoping for something of value. I also pitch editors from time to time and have to deal with everything from rejection to rudeness, and indifference to indecision. As an editor, I suffer through piles of contributed articles. Some good, many deficient.

But let’s kick things off with a few pet peeves:

  • PRs who sent me pitches and don’t reply after I respond

  • Random pitches about subject I never cover

  • Pitchers who clearly have no reality about the audience or subject matter of the publication they hope to appear in

  • Lengthy press releases that say very little

  • Press releases with NO contact information or no email

  • Web contact forms that no one responds to

  • email addresses that no ever answers

  • Articles that mention the company’s name or product in almost every paragraph

  • Experts whose insistence on complexity gets in the way of effective communication

  • Cluttering articles with dozens of equations or obscure screenshots

  • Technical papers that cite dozens of other papers but don’t actually say anything new

  • Companies that use their legal departments to kill just about any article content of value

  • Companies that require weeks to answer a couple of simple questions

  • Companies that can’t get their act together to provide basic content

I could go on, but those will do for now. You’ll be hearing a lot more about such things in my regular posts. I’ll cover each one and a whole lot more besides. The goal? To increase the quality of communication in media interactions. And perhaps to reduce the volume of unwanted traffic in my mailbox.