Ever since I returned to the world of journalism, I have asked PRs not to send me any press releases.
I also feel that PRs should bloody well try harder than adopt what is basically Spam as a way to convey their clients’ messages.
And if you think Spam is too strong a word, consider a recent experience in which a company got hold of my address from a list bank somewhere and started sending releases about electric shavers despite the fact I never, ever write about this type of thing.
Now the law says it is kosher to do this because it is work-related and as a journo I am fair game for anyone who sends releases on any subject.
But I consider sending things to people with such a thin premise and with knowledge you will be consuming their time and resources pretty rude. And I am not afraid to say so because if these people are charging themselves out at $200 an hour and holding themselves out as professional communicators, surely they can do better than treat journalists like random inboxes.
If I’m not worth a proper, reasoned, tailored pitch, why bother at all?
The industry’s response to my requests has been very revealing.
A handful of small PR companies have never had a problem with it. After one request, they get it and move on.
Others obviously lack the institutional capability and infrastructure to share something like this kind of request, so you have to explain it to people one by one and hope they remember. But they do not, so I have had to ask some of the biggest IT PR companies around like Howorth and Text 100 to stop sending me releases more than 10 times.
That’s pretty slack and makes me wonder why, after all the work they do for CRM companies, they don’t make investments in this kind of kit for themselves!
Worst of all, however, is the constant stream of emails that say “I know you do not want to receive press releases, but what about this one?”
I got one of those from Lewis today despite at least seven previous ‘no releases’ requests.
I now think less of the agency and its client.
Not the desired outcome, I’d suggest.