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
    Kristin Bird, 7 Jan 2008 @ 11:02am

    PR responds

    This article illuminates the true communication gap between media professionals and the actual media. I work in PR -- and I admit I took the time and energy to not only google "How to stop PR people", but to read and comment on this article. I agree that most PR people are stupid, but not because they are in PR. They are stupid because most people are stupid.

    Additionally, most PR people get their names from media services databases, and are therefore ignorant of individual policies. They send follow-up emails because they are professionals and that is the way to build a relationship; they are not really "wondering" if you got the first one. And if you don't run their releases -- so what? 99.9% of releases don't get run. Sending them isn't hard and neither is hitting delete. I often see "no phone calls", but email is a black hole. Yes, we are irritating, but there's no other way to get the job done. I also always wonder if the "no releases" policy is blanket -- when I call businesses who have stated they do not wish to be pitched, what am I asked to do? "Send a release."

    I think the biggest crime we PR folks are guilty of is misdirected pitches (and while bulk email is efficient, I would never do such a thing.) I agree with the previous poster who claims that quantity over quality is the mark of a bad PR firm.

    Honestly, I can't begin to fathom the amount of spam a legitimate freelancer gets, but I also think a simple, "This is not something we are interested in" reply goes a long way toward being civil and breaking the cycle.

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