12.07.2007

One of the Reason I Hated PR

Chris Anderson at The Long Tail (and also the Editor in Chief of Wired) has something to say, Sorry PR people: you're blocked

And he's got strong reasons for blocking them. Just because he's the EiC at Wired doesn't mean he's the catchall for your press releases. He's already really busy and can't be bothered to wade through 300 emails a day from flacks across the nation who are too lazy/busy/ignorant to do their work properly and target the specific editor at the publication who actually covers the space the press release is in.

This is one of the reasons I'm glad to be out of PR. Too many really crappy PR people make the job harder for PR people who actually try to do things the right way and researching proper contacts to craft targeted pitches to.

It is a problem of volume, number of touches per month (a deliciously worthless PR metric), resultant coverage (a decidedly worthwhile PR metric) and positive company exposure.

There are too many companies competing for too little press and the editors are covering too wide a swath to be able to cover it all totally effectively.

Even a perfectly targeted pitch sent to a single contact can be overlooked because it gets drowned out by the hundreds of shotgun marketed PR messages being sent out every second of every day.

Seriously, every editor I know personally can regale you with tales of never ending emails, many of which are poorly written, badly targeted and then followed up with even more annoying phone calls to verify reciept and to try and set an appointment or drive some coverage.

PR is, in large part, a nagging and pestering business. And I hated that I was a nagging cog in the big informational machine.

The editors don't get off scott free since they feel no compulsion to update the profiles used by PR people to make their media lists and then get all aggravated when PR people send them stuff they no longer cover. Or the editors who put stuff like "DO NOT CALL ME EVER" in their profiles and then never respond to emails. Sorry, dude and dudette, your request for no phone calls when you don't respond to emails can't be honored. A simple email response of "Not interested" means the flack can cross you off and move on.

What the industry needs is a way to opt-in, respond and arrange followups quickly and without any hassles at all.

More on the explosion of stupid and ugly catfight at TechDirt and a follow up on The Long Tail complete with oh-so-professional PR flackery including insults, threats and bounties for stealing clients from other agencies. It all speaks so well for the industry that its no wonder people hate PR people.

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