A Reply to All PR People

February 19, 2009
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If you’re not in the  public relations industry or have not been emailing me your story ideas for The Noisy Channel, please feel free to skip the rest of this post.

To those of you who have been sending me pitches for your companies or your clients, this post is for you. I’m flattered that I make it onto your list of target media outlets–I can’t deny it’s cool to be so valued when I’ve been blogging for less than a year. And I’m sure my readers are flattered that you value their eyeballs enough to seek them out. But your approach–well, it just isn’t very effective.

Like most bloggers, I’m pretty quick to tune out press releases, or similarly fluffy sales / marketing pitches. It’s pretty easy to identify them from their tone, from the immediate sensation that someone pasted “Dear Daniel” onto a message that was sent out in bulk. As soon as I detect that impersonal tone, I conclude that you have no idea what might interest me, and that you are talking at me rather than with me. While I used to feel guilty about not responding to email with my name on it, I don’t feel the same qualm about ignoring&#82

If you’re not in the  public relations industry or have not been emailing me your story ideas for The Noisy Channel, please feel free to skip the rest of this post.

To those of you who have been sending me pitches for your companies or your clients, this post is for you. I’m flattered that I make it onto your list of target media outlets–I can’t deny it’s cool to be so valued when I’ve been blogging for less than a year. And I’m sure my readers are flattered that you value their eyeballs enough to seek them out. But your approach–well, it just isn’t very effective.

Like most bloggers, I’m pretty quick to tune out press releases, or similarly fluffy sales / marketing pitches. It’s pretty easy to identify them from their tone, from the immediate sensation that someone pasted “Dear Daniel” onto a message that was sent out in bulk. As soon as I detect that impersonal tone, I conclude that you have no idea what might interest me, and that you are talking at me rather than with me. While I used to feel guilty about not responding to email with my name on it, I don’t feel the same qualm about ignoring–or even reporting as spam–emails that clearly were sent to a distribution list I didn’t sign up for.

Moreover, bear in mind that blogging is not my day job–in fact, this blog generates zero income for me. Perhaps some reporters are grateful to be spoon-fed content that they can use to fill empty pages. Not me–I’d rather go dark for a week than post content that would annoy my readers. My credibility is my coin.

So please, if you are one of the folks who has been filling my inbox with PR pitches, unsubscribe me from your lists. If you think that I or my readers want to know more about you or your products, write me a personal email to persuade me. I can tell the difference. If writing a personal email is too much investment for you, then reading an impersonal one is surely too much investment for me.

Finally, I can relate to your challenge. When I started this blog, I sent out scores of emails to let people know about it. But I didn’t email in bulk, and every message I sent out was clearly meant for its recipient. It took me much, much longer to write those messages than if I’d simply written one and sent it out to everyone. But the success of this blog is a testament to the human approach.

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