PR pitches are often a lot like telemarketing calls. They come from nowhere and make offers of dubious relevance.
That’s inevitably frustrating, just like telemarketing calls!
But it is also a PR’s job to make those calls (or send those emails) even though (just like telemarketers) their success rate is trivial. So it is hard to understand how to stop them because PRs have little incentive to change behaviour.
It is not my job to bat back unsolicited offers all day. There is little incentive for me to deal with this stuff. Perhaps a staff journo thinks it is more acceptable. But all I have to sell is my time so I prefer to use it well.
I do not think this is precious: it MUST, surely, be a PR’s job to deal with media requests inquiries.
I think this unfair asynchronicity can be fixed, through technology. As I have often remarked, I am stunned by the paucity of basic online PR tools like image libraries. And there are basically NO online PR tools like “pull” services so that I can tap into pitches on my own terms, on my own time, instead of being interrupted mid-feature. I hope that this kind of innovation comes along before too long.
I suspect that one objection to this kind of tool (which I readily admit is very sketchily described here) is that PRs value relationships with media and technology disintermediates and therefore reduces the proximity of the relationship, potentially degrading a PR’s influence on a journo. But for me, that argument has never washed. No matter how good my relationship with a PR, if their client deserves negative coverage, they get it.
I also feel it is time for innovation. In the decade or more I have interacted with PR (from both sides of the fence) technology has not really made a meaningful impact on the way PRs contact media. Email is a change, but not a radical change.
I do hope that the more creative PR thinkers out there are contemplating how to use technology to ease the unfair asynchronicity. But given that most PR companies are yet to master basic list management, I’m not holding my breath and expect the unfair asynchronicity to continue to be a source of frustration and tension.