Attention All PR People: Stop Sending Us Press Releases

from the let's-try-this-again dept

Every once in a while, it seems, we need to remind the PR world that we don't want press releases. It says so on our submissions page. We're not joking. However, too many PR folks either think we don't mean it, or don't bother spending enough time on the site to realize we don't want press releases. You think we plan to pay attention to either type of PR spammer? We've had our fair share of posts highlighting stupid PR practices in the past, but (of course) the worst offenders don't actually read this site -- they just spam us. It's not surprising, of course, to find out that we're not alone in feeling this way. Amy Gahran over at E-Media Tidbits is explaining how she's now marking all unsolicited press releases she gets as spam in her Gmail account, which hopefully protects plenty of other Gmail-using journalists from getting future spam from such people. Valleywag has recently pointed out that PR spammers are worse than traditional spammers, because they send you follow up emails to make sure you got the original. What amazes me is that these PR people clearly don't care and don't learn. There are PR people who have spammed press releases to me for years... and I've never replied or written about a single product. Yet, I'm still on the list.

I recently did a conference call/interview for an organization that advises PR people, and one of the questions was how to send pitches to Techdirt. The answer was the same way as it is for anyone who wants to submit stories to Techdirt: (1) Read the site. (2) Understand what the hell we talk about (3) Maybe participate on the site in comments (4) Use the submit form (5) Explain to us why whatever your pitching is really interesting to our audience, rather than just claiming its "exciting." Oh yeah, if you claim that the company you're representing is "the leading" company in whatever tiny market you've made up just so you can claim to be leading it... don't even bother. It's unfortunate that we need to put up posts like this every so often, but we're hopeful that sooner or later it will start to sink in.

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  1. identicon
    Will Rankin, 20 Sep 2006 @ 3:28am

    Hang on

    I've worked in PR in the past. In my experience, you are under enormous pressure to get a release sent out before a certain time, often to a list of thousands of recipients, which, in the firm I worked in, were sifted maybe twice a year. You do not have time to call up, say, 2500 people every day to ensure they still want to receive releases.Thus, people got stuff they didn't want. We did, however, deliniate the database by subject matter; ie tech, transport, retail, hospitality, fashion, etc..
    Remember, one day you might need a PR person. And, as Gianna proves, not all PR people are unintelligent.
    But having a hissy fit because you get a few too many unsolicited emails seems a bit over the top. While you're writing your little site, people are out there dying.
    PR companies act under the instruction of pushy demanding clients (one of the reasons I jacked it in), who often don't have media understanding, simply a desire to see their news in as many outlets as possible. I'm sure you know this, but blame the CLIENT, not necessarily the PR company.
    Ultimately, PR is bullshit written by bullshitters for bullshitters.
    Oh, and so is journalism.
    I'm in copywriting now. Might as well be an honest whore.

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