You’ve seen this before:
A pretty woman is walking on the street/sitting in a coffee shop/doing something in public where there are men. Invariably, some strange man or collection of men walk up to her and profess their love/tell her she is gorgeous/ask her on a date. None of them get much more than 1-2 minutes of her time, because she gets this kinda stuff ALL the time.
Truth be told, this routine of unsolicited advances is actually more than a bit frustrating for our make believe hottie.
Now, let’s take it back to PR. Imagine you’re the assignement editor in the newsroom at a major market TV station. Like the hottie in the above example, you get LOADS of unsolicited advances (called “pitches”) from PR people. It is VERY frustrating. Most of these comes from flaks that you have no prior relationship with. Out of the blue, these people are trying to GET something from you without having really GIVEN you anything of substance.
As a PR person, if you make the “unsolicited advance” before you’ve actually GIVEN anything to the media target you’re as likely to fail as the stranger-douchebags hitting on the hottie.
Why do PR people make a HABIT out of this?
Good PR is about giving before asking. That’s how you start to build relationships. Before you next throw out a pitch as a stranger, ask yourself, “What can I do to help before asking for coverage?”