Have you heard of the term PR spam? It’s the practice of blasting out news releases or pitches to lists of contacts with no attempt at tailoring pitches or even verifying that the recipients might be the least bit interested in the content. It’s probably been with us as long as media have been around.
The hope is that if you shoot out hundreds of identical pitches, something will stick. There’s no real strategy involved. Perhaps it’s worked at times. It never has for me.
As many of our local PR leaders can attest, more effective media relations involves knowing who you are pitching and why. It means designing the pitch for them specifically. It takes more time, but it has a much bigger pay off.
Since spam is the electronic equivalent to junk mail. The term PR spam has come along to describe those sales, marketing and pitch e-mails that are thrust on reporters.
And because of the ease of sending e-mails, the volume of PR spam is growing exponentially. While reporters have mostly tolerated our bad and lazy behavior, bloggers aren’t so willing. We’ve seen them lately ranting online about it, blocking PR spam e-mail domains and publishing the names or domains of offenders. So, rather than the story becoming in the story, the mis-pitch becomes the story.
Of course, many of these spammers are people doing public relations work without any public relations expertise. I wish that was the whole problem. The fact is, many large and small PR firms have been called out.
That leaves us with several questions, like: How are we training our PR staff? How are we holding ourselves accountable? How are we measuring media relations success?
I am bringing this up now to tell you about a live call-in online discussion that is taking place on Wednesday, June 11, 2008. For Immediate Release will host the discussion on FIR Live on BlogTalk Radio. And you can join in. Get details on the FIR blog.