There are only so many reporters and bloggers covering the field or industry you play in, whether it’s automotive technology, software, clothing, or architectural design. With time and experience, you will wind up speaking to them all one day—or their brethren. In a world of instant communication and shrinking inner circles, a PR person who cries wolf with a few off-the-mark pitches is blackballed in a hurry.

There’s nothing the media dislikes more than vapor (a non-story), so don’t pitch it. Click over to Business Wire, PR Web, or any of its ilk on a given day and you can count up hundreds of thousands of dollars spent propagating vapor news.

"I will go down as the voice of this generation, of this decade, I will be the loudest voice."— Kanye West

We’re a bit more humble than Mr. Kardashian. But, as we mark the 10th birthday of the award-winning Bad Pitch blog, we wanted to lead with swagger, good news and bad news.

The good news? Thanks to buzzwords like big data, the cloud, social media and more, it’s harder than ever to send a bad pitch.

The bad news? These same words make it easier than ever to send a bad pitch.

It's the best of times, it's the worst of times. So here is a tale of two pieces of content. It's up to you, fine readers, to determine which one's a best practice and which one's a worst practice.

Match the Quote to the Black History Hero Who Said It

BuzzFeed quizzes can be a polarizing piece of content. Let's face it, we work hard to get our content shared into ubiquity. Yet BuzzFeed can drop a quiz telling you which meat you are and it's passed around like a 100% off coupon code.

Image via

The year ended with less of a whimper than expected in the public relations industry with everything from Uber and Sony missteps to smaller gems like GoGo Squeez and Play Doh.

In fact, this story from the New York Post almost went unnoticed.* In his December 25th article, "A gift to all the p.r. people who were blown off in 2014," business reporter John Crudele turns a dozen pitches into a story and outs the 12 folks that sent them his way.

Nine months ago, robo-journalism was in full effect when the LA Times used its Quakebot algorithm to report on an earthquake -- three minutes after it happened.

It's ironic to note the math of an algorithm is being used to generate the words of a newspaper article -- 108 of them in the above example. In another example, the AP uses a tool called Wordsmith to help fill their pages.

You're thinking, "come on...this is headline bait. How can these two topics be even remotely connected?" This Venn diagram depicting Internet privacy (created by Dave Hoffman) is our answer.

No, you and your fellow employees are not celebrities. Celebrities are subjected to an unfortunate level of attention. And in this case, a hacker pulled the celebrity photos from password-protected iCloud accounts and not social media.

Early in my career, I'd declare I'm part of the creative class, in part, because of my dislike for math. Today, I still wouldn't trade my career for anything. But I've learned to love math.

The silos between art and science dissolved long ago. And every public relations professional should love math and, more specifically, data. Here are just three reasons.

The following pitch was received by a journalist friend of mine yesterday.  I will not comment on it.  I guess this is why Kevin and I started this blog in the first place. Read at your own risk.

"Robin Williams’ tragic death leaves consumers at high risk of identity theft. The 1.2 billion people already endangered from the massive Russian hacking just got more vulnerable as identity thieves lure curious citizens with links promising details about Robin Williams.

We just paid homage to Ernest Hemingway for his support of simple, clear and effective writing. Add George Carlin to the list of talented individuals reminding us to write tight.

The infamously expletive-wielding Carlin could be the NSFW poster child. So does that make him the worst possible role model in this situation? Before you decide, consider the phrase he invented...soft language.

When it comes to media relations, the analogy about a chain only being as strong as its weakest link applies. Your media list may be solid, but if your pitch is ham-fisted it doesn't matter. This applies to the entire cycle.

The Hemingway App is one tool you can use to make sure your pitch is as simple and clear as possible. As you'll see below, it points out the readability of whatever you cut and paste into the site, or you can compose on the fly.