Pitching a Pitcher

When I took over as the Atlanta Guide on About.com, I also inherited the email address used by the past guides. While this has been a great help because it puts me in touch with many local PR folks who were already sending mail to that address, it has also taught me a lesson about list hygiene, something all of us involved in email marketing should be wary of.

I understand that these PR agencies have large mailing lists that they blast to very frequently, but as someone with a background in the field, I also understand that getting coverage has a lot to do with relationship building. So when I get an email from someone that is addressed to the former guide, if I think it is an important relationship to cultivate, I write back with a friendly hello and let them know I've taken over as the site's writer and manager. No hard feelings for getting my name wrong this time around. However, it does irk me when I continuously get messages addressed to the former writer, after I've made the effort to write back and introduce myself.

Another thing I've seen frequently is just sloppy personalization. I've gotten a number of messages that start with the greeting "Hi Folio, Laura!" or something similar. This is just poor list organization.

I get a LOT of emails. If the content is compelling enough, an error like those I've detailed above it not going to prevent me from posting an event or story. But if I'm just shopping around for an interesting topic, the little things make the difference. If you don't care to tailor your pitch or at least update your database with my correct name, then I don't care to cover your news.

Moral of the story? Keep you database up-to-date and your lists clean. And be careful when you pitch to a pitcher!

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