Many PR firms or news distribution services will attempt to win your business by boasting a database of hundreds or thousands of media contacts. Impressed? You shouldn’t be.
Long Tail author, Chris Anderson, recently declared that he was fed up with being spammed by PR people, and had decided to block all but those who contact him for the right reasons:
“I only want two kinds of email: those from people I know, and those from people who have taken the time to find out what I’m interested in and composed a note meant to appeal to that,” says Anderson.
Some of the comments on Anderson’s post complained about the difficulty of tracking down media contacts and creating a tailored database. Much easier to buy a list and spam it. But Anderson’s response is a good example of why this is a bad idea.
As a former magazine editor, I can sympathise with the spammed, and this is one of the reasons we have established a policy of creating shorter, more targeted media lists and take the trouble to find out who to send our releases to.
Sometimes this is all but impossible and publications insist on all press releases being filtered through a ‘newsdesk’, and that’s their prerogative.
But when a PR agency takes the trouble to research publications and channels that match a press release with the audience demographic, build a targeted list, include a personalised email message to the top contacts showing how the release is relevant to the target audience, and encourage a dialogue, the results are much more impressive.