Do your homework about the company or individual you’re pitching and above all, don’t be a jerk.

By Steve Moran 

I hope you will indulge this little rant. My goal in writing about is to take advantage of a teachable moment and help readers understand how a publisher or an editor may or may not choose to write about any given topic, but especially a topic that involves a review of a product or service.

You Want Me to Write About Your Deal

Having readers contact me with story ideas is a big part of the success of Senior Housing Forum. Sometimes they even prod me to write stories about things I don’t really want to write about, because I know some people will get mad. And yet writing that kind of story is generally the right thing to do and stimulates a lot of “conversation” on the blog.

Often senior living providers reach out to me with stories about cool things they are doing. While I can’t use them all, I like those best of all. They result in the kinds of stories my readers enjoy.

Something for Nothing

A few times each month, someone, generally from a small emerging company, reaches out wanting me to write about their “great new thing” that they envision will make a real difference in the industry. They never have any money to buy an ad. I love hearing these pitches even though, but, in many cases, they are not a good fit for Senior Housing Forum. When I say no, I try to explain why and give them my best possible advice on how they might move forward or why they should reconsider what they are doing. 

To be truthful, my advice is rarely appreciated, which I guess is okay since they didn’t pay anything for it. I never consider my time spent on those kinds of rejections to be a waste.

The Jerks

It doesn’t happen often, but by coincidence two times in the last couple of months individuals approach me literally demanding that I write about their thing. Their pitches are cloaked in a fervent assertion: “This will be so good for the industry [or residents or community].” They are pushy, and get mad if I am slow to respond or I say no. This defensive behavior never helps their cause. 

The Most Recent 

A few weeks ago I started receiving a steady stream of emails from a guy who had written a book tangentially related to senior living (I am feeling more charitable after a few days of contemplation about this so I am not naming names of either the book or the writer). As I scanned his emails it appeared that some of them were individually aimed at me, though it was a bit hard to tell for sure.  

A couple of days ago I saw another one and responded by saying I was not sure if I was part of a blast or was receiving a personal email, but if it was personal I was open to the possibility of helping him. I suggested he send me a copy of the book and I would take a look at it, with an eye toward writing a review.

He responded an hour or so later, wanting to know what “eye toward writing a review” meant and requesting, or more like demanding, more details. I responded that I couldn’t commit to writing a review until I had seen the book and made sure it was a fit for my audience, well written and a good read.

His immediate response was that they were only looking for reviews from “real media outlets” like the New York Times and Denver Post. Okay . . . he then went on to suggest that I purchase the book on Amazon and write a review, after which they might be willing to purchase a small ad on Senior Housing Forum.

I had to laugh about that smug response. Apparently thousands of senior housing niche readers daily is not a “real” media outlet. Really?!!!  So I responded that I thought getting reviews from “real media outlets” was a good idea and wished him luck.

Instantly, he sent a terse email asking to be taken off my email list, which of course we did immediately.

Is it any wonder that senior living providers put up such formidable barriers to vendors who make dozens of calls to them even after being told no? The bottom line has to be this, particularly when you want something for nothing:

Do your homework about the company or individual you’re pitching and above all, don’t be a jerk.

Rant over, until next time.

A Big P.S.

I know articles should never be as long as this one will end up being, but by coincidence I got the perfect book pitch from Dennis McIntee, the author of a different book. Check it out:

Hi Steve….

Mark  XXXX has been after me to try to connect with you. I’ve been receiving your weekly emails and totally love what you’re doing. Thanks so much for what you’re doing to serve the industry.

I’ve been serving in the Illinois, Indiana and Iowa healthcare markets for the last 4 years. It’s been a blast!  My new book: The 8 Qualities of Drama Free Teams has gotten great reviews from administrators. Here’s a link with information about the book:

If you’d like, I’d love to send a copy. Just shoot me an address.

If there is ever a chance to catch you via phone, I’d love to ask you a couple of questions about the market.

Thanks for all you do to serve people. Keep up the great work.

After a couple of pleasant email exchanges, I have an e-book version of his book on my Kindle and we will connect by phone soon . . . and he gets a plug at Senior Housing Forum.

And finally, a big thanks to Shannon Ingram of Anthem Memory Care for helping me turn a mean-spirited rant into a teachable moment.