Public Relations Professionals Shouldn’t Be Spammers
November 25, 2013
November 25, 2013
That noise you heard on Sunday morning was millions of public relations professionals groaning as they opened their Sunday New York Times to an article titled “Swatting at a Storm of Public Relations Spam.” Reporter David Segal lamented changes to the newspaper’s email system that allowed a barrage of off-topic pitches to land in his inbox.
Where are the emails about mortgage rip-offs and foreclosure scams? Or rent-to-own fiascos? Or moving-company nightmares? Oh, how the Haggler longs for these gruesome yarns! Instead, do you know what hogs space in his benighted in-box? Emails with headers like “New! First Self-Chilling Iceless Drinking Glass — Editorial Sample?
This is an unsolicited public relations pitch — P.R. spam, more succinctly — one of hundreds of thousands that belly-flop into the email systems of journalists every day.
As a former magazine journalist, I know all too well the barrage of off-topic, never-in-a-million-years press releases and event pitches that can land in a time-strapped reporter’s inbox. At Solomon McCown’s Brown Bag lunches with journalists, one of the first things we typically hear when we ask how PR professionals can better work with them: Please know my coverage area so you don’t send me a pitch in which I have no interest.
It’s easy to give into the temptation to blanket every journalist within a 500 mile radius with a press release to increase the odds of getting coverage, but it usually just results in a PR professional’s email address being added to the spam list. Read news in your industry—whether it’s the self-chilling iceless drinking glass sector or healthcare. Read, watch, and share what reporters are writing about in your space. Become a trusted source of news and ideas for journalists; not a source of consternation.