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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

FAO PR people: how to avoid getting black-listed

I'm suffering under an increasing deluge of irrelevant email. Not just ordinary spam ("Private Jets available 24/7". Yes, really) but a huge volume of PR spam as well.

So.... a combined rant and set of guidelines.

Now I need to be clear - getting relevant announcements, from relevant companies, is extremely useful for me. I willingly sign up to email lists, read specific mail in depth, and sometimes follow up for briefings or additional information.

But at the same time, I'm getting increasingly irritated by the flood of irrelevant bumph, especially from people or companies I've had no contact with in the past.

I'm getting to the point at which I blacklist specific individuals, or even entire agencies, if they repeatedly offend.

Before I do that, however, some ground rules:

1) If you've never contacted me before, send me a brief email of introduction, listing companies you, or your agency, represent, with a line or two about what they do. Do not just get my email from some web-based list of journalists/analysts and send me unsolicited releases.

2) My research themes are pretty obvious, if you read a couple of months-worth of my posts on here. If it's way off-beam and we don't have a relationship already, err on the side of caution and don't send it.

3) I'm am utterly disinterested in random iPhone or Android or other general smartphone apps or accessories. There are hundreds of thousands, and just because one developer has decided to spend money on a press release doesn't make it more relevant. Case in point: I had a recent spam PR talking about connecting guitars to phones, and another about a toilet-finder service. Cool. Maybe call me back when you've worked out how to network a toaster to a guinea pig.

4) Don't follow up with a phone call. I'll email you if I'm interested.

5) I'm really not that interested in knowing about mid-ranking appointments, unless you've hired Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt or Megan Fox.

6) I certainly don't care that Executive X is speaking at Conference Y on Subject Z. Unless it's the CEO talking to the United Nations about a new way to solve world hunger. Believe me, Mr X wouldn't want to get a press release from me, every time I got in front of a projector or chaired a panel at an industry event - so I've got no interest in a pre-announcement of his pitch at the Global Widgets Summit either. And, frankly, I find it hard to imagine anyone else cares either.

7) As I've said before, I am not a blogger. So if you're the head of "social media relations", you should delete me from your email list right now - I am not part of your audience. Give my email address to AR, or the Chief Strategy Officer instead.

8) Similarly, I'm not a journalist or an editor. I'm not interested in "stories" and I'm certainly not going to have a guest post from someone trying to pitch a product or service.

9) If you're telling me about a survey, you probably want to check the methodology and interpretations are solid. I want to know the source data, the questions asked, the sample. If it's a fluffy "made for PR" survey, be aware that I'm more likely to do a scathing analysis of its flaws, rather than a reporting of the culprit vendor's message.

10) Don't bother sending me 3MB photos of the CEO smiling like Gordon Brown, or some unidentifiable bit of electronics

Apologies to all my friends and regular contacts in the PR industry - you know I love you guys. Just make sure you give all your fly-by-night colleagues a good smack, as they're giving you a bad name....


Emma said...

Hi Dean
Can i use it when I'm briefing clients please -- it's what i've been saying for years (and years!).
Emma Tarring
Passionately unfluffy PR

Anonymous said...

"Fly by night colleagues" indeed!

This really is an appallingly arrogant and badly-written piece. Most PR people probably have more useful things to do than read "a couple of months-worth" (sic!) of your scribblings.

So what ground rules do you set for yourself? Clearly correct use of the English language isn't in your top 10!

Of course you'll think I'm a offended PR agent ... but you'd be wrong; I'm totally disinterested (Note: disinterested is not at all the same thing as uninterested, though you seem to think so if your rule #3 is anything to go by).

Dean Bubley said...

Emma - cheers, feel free.

Anonymous - I'm impressed by your proof-reading skills, if not your sense of humour. Fair cop on dis/un-interested, although you should probably read up on proper use of commas.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, I would be rather pleased with myself to discover I'd warranted email (unsolicited or not) about private jet travel. The fact that you felt compelled to write this post in the first place suggests you've achieved a remarkable amount of success.