Media mentor tips

Over-egging your connection

I had a chat on LinkedIn with podcaster and speaker booker Maria Franzoni this week. She’d had something I’ve had in the past as a journalist – people calling her up to pitch clients to her podcast and saying flattering things, only to make it apparent that they really hadn’t listened to even one episode.

Nobody is suggesting it’s easy to keep up with every single journalist. I’ve had the same thing; there’s the incident I mention in this tip, and another time a PR person told me their client really, really wanted to meet me because they’d be an invaluable contact and (said the PR person) I was a major writer in their client’s market. I agreed to the meeting, they suggested coffee – and when I got to the venue it turned out the client was finishing lunch and allocated me ten minutes for a quick coffee after their main guest had gone. Which would have been fine but the first thing the client asked was who I was and which publications I worked for – the suggestion that they’d considered me an important contact came from the PR person’s head and nowhere else.

I’m not actually sure where this compulsion to tell everyone they’re really important comes from. I’m fine with someone not having heard of me, my podcast or anything else I do, and it can be very helpful that a mutual connection puts us in touch. I’d just recommend being honest about it. The PR industry has an often-undeserved reputation for over-selling – why not smash the stereotype?

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