Is crowd-sourcing a viable option for improving media pitching standards?

Perhaps the number 1 pet peeve of any journalist is being spammed with irrelevant information / press releases.

Number 2, and closely behind, is being called and pitched to by junior PRs who don’t know them, don’t know their client properly and can’t truly help to make rich editorial.

From a client side, there is nothing worse that paying an enormous amount to a PR agency, only to receive the ‘rocket-science’ recommendation that ‘you need to speak to journalists’. Although that’s fine, the real value added is to have insight and knowledge about the journalist to support the recommendation.

Some agencies hold journalist databases with information on the most influential contributors. Some don’t, because there are real concerns on privacy and data protection. There are also dozens of anecdotes of these documents being accidentally shared to the journalist in question, with embarrassing notes that do significant damage to both the agency and the media.

So I was extremely interested when I received the following email advertising a new service that aims to create a global database of journalists, populated by PRs themselves. A crowd-sourced solution, almost a ‘Wiki’.

Pitching Notes recently launched to create a database of pitching tips and reporter reviews. Their objective is to have a profile for every reporter out there, so every PR pro can benefit from a wide database of pitching notes.

Howcan you help? Add the reporters you’ve worked with, and your tips and notes on the experience!

The goal: to take our industry to the next level by pooling our knowledge to create more solid, targeted pitches, better PR-journalist relationships and more collaborative relationships among PR professionals.

And if the site helps PR pros keep their sanity and feel some solidarity, well, that’s just icing on the cake! Share your tips at www.pitchingnotes.com or follow them on Twitter @pitchingnotes.

Can competing PRs work together? What is the incentive for the large, global players to contribute their intellectual property with their smaller peers?

I don’t have the answer, but I think this project could add value and help drive standards in an area which is probably one of the most complained about parts of our business.

Also, the actual knowledge of journalists and their backgrounds is possibly a little over valued… as it’s not that difficult to build a relationship or a rapport.

Therefore, I believe and encourage all to contribute in this, especially local journalists because it will result in better targeting of media, more robust counsel for clients and generally a better reputation for the sector as a whole.

Whether Pitching Notes will actually achieve this, I don’t know. But maybe if journalists could use Wikipedia to create their own personal pages, then that could be a way forward, or someone can create a Wiki service for Middle East press?

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About stephenking2012

In 2012 I volunteered to hold the position of Chair - Standards & Ethics Committee for the Middle East PR Association (@MEPRA_org). I have set up this account to assist in this effort. You may also like to follow my Blog or connect with me on LinkedIn. In any case, please do visit www.mepra.org, and if you are not yet a member, please do sign up!
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