Tech reporters aren’t particularly known for their athletic prowess, but I think that if we had a favorite sport, it’d be ragging on PRs. Follow some on Twitter, and your feed will be filled with the latest #PRFail.
But guess what, fellow hacks? We aren’t infallible.
Oh, my. Slow news day at The Next Web?
Sure, anyone can be a dick, but this article is full of complaints from an industry that constantly spams people. Then “circles back” to see if you’ve read their email.
I’m not on staff at any publication, but I get lots of emails. Some days I get none, some days – especially before Apple events, or other major tech reveals – I’ll get a half dozen. And I get people pitching me on Facebook and Twitter.
The thing is, hardly any of them have anything that matches my interests or what I cover. 99% of these emails are spam. When I get one, I politely reply “Please remove me from your list.” and, in most cases, I get a polite reply back. But many times this message is ignored, and there’s no way to unsubscribe from the PR hack’s email list.
So I can imagine that journalists on staff for publications or who actively solicit pitches can be overwhelmed. Some people I know get 100, even 200 emails a day.
I’ve worked on the other end, handling communication for a software company for many years. I wasn’t involved in sending out emails, but I handled the next step, information requests or interviews. I never once had a journalist complain, because the PR company used was ethical. But there aren’t that many of them.
It’s worth noting that when I get an appropriately targeted email, I pay attention to it. Recently, an app developer emailed me about his software, and I could tell it wasn’t a mass email. I responded, tried it out, and now I’m reviewing it for a publication. So if you do have something that interests me, I do care, because, as a freelancer, it can mean income. And there are PR people with whom I have a very good relationship; people who represent or work for companies that I know well, whose products I write about regularly. They are never invasive, they never spam.
But what’s just as bad is the PR companies or departments who don’t even bother replying when you have a question, or need resources, such as photos or other information. Companies who consider they are better than certain journalists, and filter who they reply to.
This article is a pot calling the kettle black. I know it’s easy to just buy a list and email people you know nothing about, but it’s spam, pure and simple.
PR people have no one to blame but themselves.