How to ensure your article IS NOT published

This morning I received a pitch so bad that I feel the need to extract some lessons from it. Maybe the author will see them and learn. Hopefully at least one person on the planet will get just a tiny bit savvier about what does and doesn’t work when trying to get material posted.

The original message (yes, wait for the sequel) began with an introduction of the person and then this sentence: “I would like to submit this article for possible publication on your website, blog, newsletter or anywhere else you see fit. Many of your clients deal with these issues.”

  1. Which medium would you like to be published in? Have you even looked to see if I have a “website, blog, newsletter or anywhere else”? Have you done any research on what I may or may not publish and if I use external guest authors? This just screams of a spammy form letter.
  2. Actually, no, many of my clients DON’T deal with these issues because your article targets communications professionals.  That’s me, not my clients.

After that not-so-brilliant start the article then goes on to give a series of clichéd advice on dealing with stress. Go for a walk or read a newspaper?  Wow, I never would have thought of that. It also claims to be targetted to comms professionals, but there is absolutely nothing in the article that actually addresses the particularities of the profession.

Finally, we get to the hidden real pitch. In the biography, there is a link to a book website. I didn’t click. I won’t click. And I won’t even provide enough identifying info in this article to risk giving even any indirect promotion to this bad pitch.

But it gets better, because 90 minutes later a second message came in asking me to throw out the first article and use the second because there were typos in the first. Either this is really the worst pitch ever or it’s a diabolically sophisticated form of spam, and the second message is meant to convince you that there’s a live person and not a spambot producing it. Having Googled the Perpetrator, I think that it does come from a real person, but one who would be better off becoming one of my clients than trying to get me to print his article.

Message to the guilty party: I deal with many of the issues you have.

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