PitchingNotes.com: Valuable PR Tool or Just Another Complaint Forum?
I discovered the Pitching Notes website last week through an ad in the morning Help a Reporter Out email, Peter Shankman’s gratis service connecting journalists and sources. Pitching Notes aspires to be to reporters what Yelp is to restaurants, encouraging public relations pros to share their first-hand experiences working with the media. The site’s mission is to pool our collective knowledge into a database of pitching tips and reporter reviews to “raise our industry to a new level of excellence.” Sounds good, right?
That depends. Like all websites reliant upon user-generated content, the quality of information is only as good as what members contribute. With that in mind, here are a few tips for PR folks to help the fledgling Pitching Notes site grow into a valuable resource.
Don’t be a voyeur – With 961 members, you’d expect more than the 48 reporter profiles currently posted. Sign-up is simple and free, so where’s the disconnect? Membership numbers indicate that there is a need for this type of candid feedback forum, but more participation is required for Pitching Notes to be a destination site.
Leave specific comments – Simply rating a journalist on a five-point scale is not as useful as the thoughtful commentary that should accompany the rating. Why does Food Editor Mary Smith merit five stars? Or deserve a paltry two stars? Furthermore, “Margaret is a joy to work with” is not as helpful as “In addition to her syndicated food column, Margarate also hosts a radio show in Southern California, so if you have a local pitch angle, it may result in double-coverage.” Including very specific nuggets of information, especially if they’re not found in other media databases like Vocus or Cision, will help differentiate the site and elevate it beyond an online report card.
Think before you post – Let’s avoid using this new platform to bash our journalist colleagues. In an age where every Little Leaguer gets a trophy just for showing up, it can be tempting to point fingers at a reporter when one of our pitches doesn’t turn into a front page story. Remember that reporters can easily find their profiles on the site, and they likely won’t forget a scathing review.
Photo courtesy of mikecogh on Flickr.