A marketing coordinator pitched me a story about a doctor who had appeared on Good Morning America (GMA) and other popular TV programs. (I assume the “other popular TV programs” were news broadcasts, not reality TV or primetime sitcoms.) I had heard of Good Morning America. That’s a national broadcast. That’s pretty cool. I get it.
The marketer put his client’s past appearances in the very first line of his pitch. So I also assume he thought a Good Morning America mention was his strongest selling point to immediately grab my attention and persuade me to read more. Actually, it’s not uncommon for PR pros to try to impress reporters with a resume of appearances. But information such as this never really impressed me. It made me hesitate and ask myself a question: Do I want to air a story that’s already been aired?
When you pitch clients, I figure you’ve already ensured they won’t put viewers to sleep or talk in a language forcing us to consult our dictionary app. It’s not important to me the client already passed that litmus test with Good Morning America. It’s not important to me GMA considered the client’s story newsworthy. What I do know is when TV producers and managers hear the story already aired elsewhere, they often make a face as if tasting bad medicine. Sometimes they’re willing to swallow it. Sometimes not. But when I looked down a conference table of cynical journalists, I didn’t want to hear “Yes. I saw that story on [fill in the blank.]
Maybe a GMA appearance deserves a mention somewhere in the pitch but not the first line. And maybe not at all. I’ve lost count of the number of times marketers or clients themselves tried to seal the deal with me by name dropping previous appearances. Instead they sealed their fate.
The pitch for the client with the GMA appearance under his TV belt actually was successful with me. But that’s because the issue was new and fresh, not because I was wowed at the very chance of being in the presence of someone who appeared on a national stage. Choose carefully when deciding when to name drop. Most journalists understand they’re probably not your first. But they like to think they are. And often the last thing they wish to hear is you shouting out someone else’s name.
Tell us what you think. Do you name drop? How well does it work?