Is your inbox overflowing with a virus? Sadly, it isn’t ordinary phishing or malware, but all COVID, all the time, with pitches and experts offered from all walks of life. It isn’t just the infosec vendors either. Paul and David have gotten pitches from genealogy vendors, from vendor selling ink cartridges and those who want to help us build a sales team working from home.
They have plenty of competition. Bad guys have come up with all kinds of scams and ploys preying on interest in information and remedies. Scammers cumulatively created over 35,500 unique websites related to COVID-19 in the last month according to Atlas VPN research, Some of these sites tried to swindle money by selling masks, hand sanitizers, or even virus testing kits. Amazon removed over 530,000 coronavirus-related product listings due to price-gouging.
All this means communicators need to be judicious about what you are pitching. In this podcast, we look at the best and worst examples that we’ve seen cross our inboxes. For example, we both liked this piece that ran in David’s local St. Louis magazine. It looked into the role two local university medical research teams – one at Washington University and one at St. Louis University – were contributing to COVID research work. David’s wife is an interior designer, and she has gotten her share of coronavirus-related pitches too. One pitch is for a bunch of expert tips on organizing your home while sheltering in place. We both liked the practicality of the piece and how it offers some solid suggestions that anyone can use to straighten up while living in isolation. .
The email at left had a subject line “building your sales team for a post-Covid recovery.” That struck us both as opportunistic and being somewhat tone-deaf to the worldwide misery we’ve all been seeing.
Then there is the pitch from Dell below right that is trying to sell printer ink cartridges, with the subject line “working from home made easy.” Needlessly exploitative. It has nothing to do with simplifying work from home.
Finally is the personalized pitch at the bottom left. If you are going to go make a pitch related to an epic tragedy, don’t start with “Happy Wednesday.” It just comes across as unseemly.
So what are some lessons that we learned? First sharpen your pitch and and make it as relevant to your business as possible. Don’t make a reporter have to search for an angle. And it doesn’t hurt to ask a reporter what articles they are working on and offer to help.