10 Publisher Pet Peeves To Avoid

If you know that all caps is like online shouting, excessive exclamation points are unprofessional, and emojis are content marketing mistakes, then you have passed Content Promotion 101. With your grammar basics mastered, the next step in good publisher relations is understanding the more nuanced pet peeves that hurt both your placement rates and your reputation.

If you’re not sure what causes publishers to delete (or worse, autodelete) pitches, then the Media Relations Guide to Etiquette is the eBook for you. BuzzStream and Fractl reviewed media guides and surveyed top-tier publications to learn the worst practices plaguing our industry. Their responses revealed 25 tactics that turn publishers off no matter how good your content is.

Check out eight of the most lamented content promotion fouls here, then download the free eBook to learn what else to nix from your pitches.

#10: Self-promotional pitch

“Many [PR professionals] have a misunderstanding when it comes to the difference between advertorial and guest posts.” The Gigaom guest post policy speaks for the majority of publishers in reminding us that publishers want to be pitched high-quality news and content, not advertisements for your brand.

#9: Generic angle to a common study

Publishers aren’t in the business of regurgitating information everyone already knows, and you shouldn’t be either. Instead, 66% of publishers want you to bring something new to the table with exclusive research or breaking news. This doesn’t mean you have to embark on a PhD-level investigation. Instead, follow trends relevant to your industry and capitalize on your insider knowledge.

#8: Copy of a press release

While a press release can contain valuable information, 95% of publishers told us that this isn’t a content format they’re interested in. Instead:

  • 85% of publishers want the raw data from your study or campaign.
  • 65% want data visualizations such as infographics, mixed-media pieces, images, or videos.
  • 70% would be excited to collaborate with you on a story, rather than receiving a finished asset.


#7: Dishonesty, lack of transparency

Although there may be a quick advantage to gaining links and search result rankings by breaking embargoes or violating exclusive agreements, doing so tells publishers that they can’t trust you. Similarly, don’t claim that a story is urgent or breaking when it isn’t.

#6: Cold calling instead of emailing

For publishers, phone calls are the long-distance equivalent of showing up unannounced. 95% never want you to contact them that way and are likely to ignore your call if you try. Some publishers even told us they unplug their office phone when they’re not expecting a specific call. Put down the phone and hop on your email, the pitch-delivery method of choice for 81% of publishers.

#5 Lack of cooperation

Publishers are like any other colleague or co-worker; if you’re rude to them, they’re not likely to do you any favors. You should always strive to be polite, professional, and as accommodating as possible to help you both achieve the goal of publishing quality content.


#4: Constant follow-ups

Repeated follow-ups are not only annoying, they are one of the most common reasons publishers blacklist marketers. If you want to stay in the good graces of the publications that can earn you the most exposure, limit your reminder emails to no more than two.

#3: Email blasts, spam

If your pitch strategy involves “Bcc: All” in the To field, you’re on the fast track to the blacklist. Mass emails are the bane of publishers who prefer exclusives (which is 48.5%, according to our publisher study). Sending the same pitch to a group tells them that you’re not giving them the opportunity to publish the story first – or taking the time to target your pitches to the best-fit publications.

Learn the top two pitching mistakes that all publishers hate, along with 50 quotes from top-tier editors when you download our free eBook, the Media Relations Guide to Etiquette.

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