PR agencies and spam

I write about strategies to turn fans into customers and customers into fans. I also share ways to use real-time strategies to spread ideas, influence minds, and build business.

Worst Practices  |  Press Release Content  |  Public Relations  |  Media Relations

To paraphrase the Wikipedia entry, spam is sending email that is both unsolicited by the recipient and sent in substantively identical form to many recipients.


Unfortunately, way too many PR agencies are spammers.

Do you get email like this?: "I am Mrs. Ivanka Petroslovka and my late husband was oil minister of the Ukrane and I want to send you $24,000,000 (US dollar twenty four million only)."

Or like this?" "You Won the Euro Mega Lottery!"

Much of the crap I get from PR agencies is exactly the same. Spam. It is a broadcast email message sent by a PR agency to a huge number of journalists with the hope that some poor sucker is on deadline and will respond.


These days, you can find the e-mail addresses of reporters in seconds, either through commercial services that sell subscriptions to their databases of thousands of journalists or simply by using a search engine. Unfortunately, way too many PR people are spamming journalists with unsolicited and unrelenting commercial messages in the form of news releases and untargeted broadcast pitches.

In the last few days, I have received unsolicited broadcast spam press releases or PR pitches for:
> A new series of Latino books
> Revolutionary new user authentication technology
> A photography festival's lineup of artists
> The emerging leader in secure network access solutions opening its second development centre in Pune, India.
> How to manage today's threats to homeland security
> Somebody who is speaking at the Christians in Cable breakfast during The Cable Show '07

Some of the press releases and PR pitches are so utterly awful and so wildly off target to what I write about that I cannot even decide if they are conventional spam for the masses or spam for poor overworked journalists.

PR people need to stop shotgun-blasting news releases and blind pitches to hundreds (or even thousands) of journalists at a time—without giving any thought to what each reporter actually covers—just because the media databases make it so darn simple to do.

Please stop spamming.

Barraging large groups of journalists with indiscriminate PR materials is not a good strategy to get reporters and editors to pay attention to you.

OK, I'll admit that I didn't get as much sleep as I had hoped last night. My wife would say I was a little cranky in the morning. So, do you think maybe I am being too harsh?

I know that many PR agencies are terrific—their smart staffers craft individual pitches for reporters based on what they cover. Are you in this category? If so, your work is being dragged down by the action of the PR agency spammers.